If you asked people who are coming out to worship what is the hardest part, some would say that we cannot pass the peace or greet one another up close or gather in clusters. But many would say the hardest part of worshiping during the pandemic is having to refrain from singing.
So I must apologize. It was necessary for one of our members to admonish me a while back. Not to give away the person’s identity I will say “he or she.” He or she said “Fred, you were singing during worship. Do you know that?”
The best experts recommend that we not sing when gathered for worship. The medical people tell us that when we sing, we spray more “aerosols” and droplets” than when we talk. Even if we are masked.
You know how hard that is! I will try harder, I promise.
But it brings to mind one of our great hymns. Charles Wesley wrote the hymn, “O for a Thousand Tongues to Sing.” The tune for the hymn is Azmon.
You and I both know the spirit of those words! Of course, the language is figurative or poetic. A face with one thousand tongues would look bizarre.
On the other hand, we know what it is to keep the songs of praise shuttered up, locked down, in our hearts! We want to sing!
When this mess is all behind us and we are back together as a congregation in our beautiful sanctuary, I have no doubt songs of praise will erupt from us as if we had a thousand tongues!
O For a thousand tongues to sing
My dear Redeemer's praise!
The glories of my God and King,
The triumphs of His grace!
Jesus! the Name that charms our fears,
That bids our sorrows cease;
'Tis music in the sinner's ears,
'Tis life, and health, and peace.
He breaks the power of reigning sin,
He sets the prisoner free;
His blood can make the foulest clean,
His blood avail'd for me.
My gracious Master and my God,
Assist me to proclaim,
To spread through all the world abroad
The honors of Thy name.
He speaks, - and, listening to his voice,
New life the dead receive;
The mournful, broken hearts rejoice;
The humble poor believe. (this last verse is not in our hymnbook)
Please pray with me. Heavenly Father, bring us safely through this pandemic. Watch over our loved ones. Shield the members of our church from infection. Nevertheless, no matter what comes help us to know and feel and never doubt that Jesus is the name “that charms our fears, bids our sorrows cease.” That it is music to the sinner’s ears, Tis life and health and peace.” If we had a thousand tongues, with them all we would sing your praise. In Jesus’ name. Amen.