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St Johns Southgate

08 Dec 2016

Do you do it with the curtains closed? Do you do it in the shower? Do you do it in your car when you think no one is looking? I’m talking about singing of course!

I recently attended the annual blessing of the nativity scene at the City Square where there was an opportunity to sing. No hair-brush was needed, no shower acoustics were necessary, courage of the Dutch kind wasn’t even required. Even though some passers-by did stop and stare, it didn’t matter. Together, people sang – and gloriously so – to a common tune and theme.

There aren’t too many occasions when people sing together without the merciful brevity of a happy birthday or the drown out decibels of the pub, club or stadium. But if you do find a place where singing along with others – even if you can barely hold a tune – is not just tolerated but encouraged, it’s magical!

There’s something incredibly edifying about hearing your own voice, allowing others to hear it too, all the while absorbing the sound of the whole and reacting to its push and pull, it’s swellings and contractions.

Public singing drags the individual out of the narrow passages of introspection into the wide open spaces of the collective. The sharing of song draws people together in a unique way because it instantly creates commonality. There’s no space for intellectualising or rationalising why you’re doing it, you have to be in the moment to make it happen. And when it happens it feels great!

At Christmas time the people of the Christian churches sing, sing and sing some more. They sing the seasonal carols telling the story of the hope, joy, peace and love that the coming of Jesus heralded. They sing because the birth of Christ opens their eyes to the real possibility of reconciliation, connectedness and community here on earth.

Singing Christmas songs goes beyond mere story telling. Joining the chorus and singing as one with the crowd is an enactment of the divine vision that all peoples might be one.

The next time you pass a group of carollers, stop for a moment and join in. You might just find yourself living that which is truly glorious about Christmas.

Carols in the Courtyard will be held outside St Johns, Southgate (mezzanine level) on Christmas Eve at 7.15pm. All welcome.

Tom Hoffman

Pastor - St Johns Southgate

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