Worship is the voice of hope
As April turns to May, plans for our wonderful new Wyvern Cantata 226 replacement organ at St Thomas à Becket move a step closer. Much of the money has already been raised (although any donations to help conclude our fundraising will be greatly appreciated!) Of course, buying and installing a new organ is more than simply facilitating a beautiful sound, it’s actually primarily a means of enhancing our worship, worship that for approaching 1000 years has been taking place on that site in one format or another. Worship is key to our shared faith and central in our affirmation and declaration of the God we know and follow.
Ralph Martin, author of Worship in the Early Church says, “The Christian church was born in song.” Indeed, soon after the turn of the 1st century, the pagan historian Pliny reported that Christians gathered at dawn to sing a hymn, “to Christ as God.” Ignatius and Clement, from the same period, encouraged early Christians to sing with one voice as they met together.
Many of you have heard of Canon Andrew White, better known as “the Vicar of Baghdad”. His story is as inspirational as it is moving. Since he started working in Baghdad in 1998, he has offered a unique insight on life in one of the world’s most turbulent and unsettling countries, with a church that has endured epic suffering. More recently the brutal expansion of Islamic State militants has given rise to unimaginable persecution amongst many of our brothers and sisters across the Middle East. Yet, remarkably, worshipping communities continue to exist and even thrive under these conditions. Cannon White is quoted as saying, “When you have nothing – as our people have nothing – then Jesus is all you’ve got.”
Andrew continues by saying, “And I tell people to sing. It’s absolutely key. When you have nothing, you have to praise God. It’s the praising of God that keeps us going…”
Worship then is the voice of hope. It’s a declaration that God is good even when life isn’t. It may be a lament, or an inspirational reminder to our hearts of the nature and qualities of our Redeemer, but it is a song that must be expressed and one that must be heard. And whether it’s a contemporary song made possible through a gifted band of musicians such as those that lead worship at St Matts, or a beautifully crafted piece of music played alone or joined by congregational voices made possible by the gloriously rich sound of a fabulous organ – we want it to be the best it can be; sumptuous, vibrant, inspiring, rich and uplifting – worthy of our glorious God…
I for one can’t wait to hear our new organ joining with the angels and filling St Thomas with a new sound to the glory of our God.
Priest in Charge Loves church pioneering, family, guitars, Macs, jeeps and Jesus, not necessarily in that order...