STLT#368, Now Let Us Sing

It’s 24 hours since nearly five dozen people died and nearly 600 were wounded by a single gunman wreaking terror in Las Vegas. And I still don’t have words, only the heaviness in my heart that is both sad and outraged.

That is, I suppose, why the Universe keeps doing this: putting cheerful, aspirational, hopeful songs in front of me when things seem at their worst. And I offer the Universe that annoyed chuckle that says, “I see what you did there, dammit.”

But then I started to think about personal tragedies that leave us sad and/or outraged, things that only one or two of us might bring into the sanctuary on a Sunday morning… and I wonder what it feels like to them when we start a service with a song like this. It must feel like you’re out of phase, and I suppose it can feel like either an invitation or an affront. I mean, it’s peppy and happy and just so damn….joyful.

Now let us sing, sing, sing                      Sing to the power of the faith within.
Now let us sing, sing, sing                      Sing to the power of the faith within.
Lift up your voice, be not afraid;             Lift up your voice, be not afraid;
sing to the power of the faith within.     sing to the power of the faith within.

Sing to the power of the hope within …

Sing to the power of the love within. …

Sing to the power of the joy within. …

What I hope, however, is that the penultimate line – “lift up your voice, be not afraid” – might offer some release.

Because while I am still sad and outraged, singing this (albeit with one part in my head), and singing “be not afraid” did change me a little. I took it slowly at first, with a quiet and almost contemplative feel; and yes, there is something to the power of the faith within.” and the hope, and the love. By the time I got to the joy, I was… okay. Not cured; nothing short of going back in time can cure this. But I was more okay than when I started.

May we all find things in the coming days to help us be okay so that we can do the work that our faith calls us to.

2 Comments

  1. Well, this one has been completely gutted by the UUization of the words. Yes, it is peppy and happy, and would be irritating, at least, if you came into a service sad or outraged. These words are some sort of praise for individual attributes that we might or might not have within us on any given day, The original was an invocation and a call to action “Now let us sing until the power of the Lord comes down” and in the version we sang at Baptist camp growing up, Preach… and Pray… It had determination – let us do something until a higher power comes to our aid or we see the way. Whoever rewrote the words missed that. I’m afraid i can’t imagine most UU congregations putting their heart into that thought, even if it were rephrased to perhaps, “the power of the One” or the “power of Love”. We have don’t have the art of singing, dancing, whirling, or even “just sitting” until we are awakened or empowered.

  2. That said, i may attempt to adapt this for next Sunday’s service on Good Humour, originally scheduled for a month ago when things were awful and more needed now when things are worse. I was going to use Enter, Rejoice and Come in.

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