28th March 2022

Did you miss being able to sing in church (or elsewhere) during the Covid restrictions? We suddenly realised how much being together and singing meant to us even if we had no pretensions as singers.

Why do humans sing? Singing of some sort happens in most, if not all, cultures.

Birds sing to define their territory and warn others off. I suppose this happens with humans in their bath but not otherwise. Birds sing to find a mate. Luckily this is not required of us outside operas.

So why? Is it because singing makes us feel we are together; we belong? It is not just in church. Think of Liverpool supporters singing “You’ll never walk alone”.

The Israelites sang psalms on pilgrimage to Jerusalem. Paul tells us to sing ‘psalms and hymns and spiritual songs’ (Ephesians 5.19). It must be to bring us together in worship and give us chance to respond to God.

During the tight restrictions when churches were first allowed to open but with no singing, St Nicholas, Portishead at least sang one hymn. We were given a slip of paper with the words on arrival. Prior to the last hymn and final blessing, we all went out on to the back car park unless it was pouring down and umbrellas would blow away. The organ is near the back door and audible with the doors open so we stood spaced out and sang. The only additional witness to this that I remember was a cat who wandered round looking puzzled.

But it felt good!

Margaret Clements