Dear friends,

One of the great joys of my ’job’ is to conduct weddings. I am conducting one this afternoon. I love them. They are such happy occasions and I get the best view in the house! To see couples staring in each other’s eyes as they make their wedding vows is a magical moment. Often their eyes are filled with tears of happiness and so are mine. Emotion is God given. It is part of what makes us human. I’m not of the old school where men are not meant to cry or show emotion. I think that to be in touch with your emotions and able to express them is good and healthy. Jesus himself showed emotion. He cried, he had compassion, he showed anger. He was human. Music is one of those things that touch our emotions. It can affect us very powerfully. Life would be very different without music. Can you imagine the bride walking down the aisle in silence? Can you imagine a film without music? Even in the days of silent films, the piano was played at the screening in order to add to the drama. Today music is everywhere. I would argue that sometimes there is too much music. For me the piped music we have in shops and restaurants and most public places is an unnecessary intrusion. It demeans music but in its right place and context, music can lift the spirits in a way that nothing else can.

Music in churches has a long tradition. Back in the Old Testament the Psalms, the hymnbook of Israel, has numerous references to music. At Morning Prayer today we read Psalm 98, which contains these words:

‘…burst into jubilant song with music;

Make music to the Lord with the harp, trumpet and horn’

Psalm 92 begins with this verse:

‘It is good to praise the Lord

and make music to your name, O Most High’

So music has been used down the centuries by Christians to enhance their worship of God. One more verse, this time from the New Testament, where Paul writing to the Christian Church in Ephesus in Turkey said:

‘Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ ‘ Eph 5 v 19,20

There are few things in life that lift the spirit more than Christians joining together, singing hymns and songs in praise of our wonderful God. It is one of the highest activities any human being can do. For me it is a good argument for those who say that you don’t need to go to church to be a Christian. That is true but have you ever tried singing a hymn, psalm or song on your own?! I would like to take this opportunity to say thank you to all the musicians we have at St Luke’s –  Wendy, our Music Director, our music group and our choir –  a big thanks you to all our musicians as they help us to worship God. Enjoy the summer! Your friend and vicar, Paul