by Ken Rolheiser
Singing the song only you can hear

There's no half-singing in the shower, you're either a rock star or an opera diva.  Josh Groban

When my son was four he watched a bird singing on a wire. “What does an ‘A’ mean?” he asked his mother. After his mom’s explanation about A, B and C as grades he observed, “I would give that bird an ‘A’.”

After reading a morning spiritual reflection that spoke of singing and used the word “sing” 26 times I thought about song in our lives and in the world to come. I thought of the three men in a fiery furnace walking about and singing.

By coincidence the news this week is buzzing about Prince and his musical contributions to the world. His single “Raspberry Beret” is described by one critic as “the single most perfect pop song anyone has ever done”.

As a child growing up on a farm I noticed we sang as we milked the cows, as we hauled loads of hay, and even as we celebrated weddings and funerals. Music was one of my favourite classes in the week at elementary school. We put our books away and sang for a half hour once a week.

Lovers falling in love have “their” song. “You don't love someone for their looks, or their clothes, or for their fancy car, but because they sing a song only you can hear.”  Author Unknown

Sometimes lovers’ songs are about the simple, ordinary things:
“Our song is a slamming screen door
Sneakin' out late, tapping on your window
When we're on the phone, and you talk real slow
'Cause it's late and your mama don't know
Our song is the way you laugh, on the first date…
I didn't kiss her, and I should have…” Taylor Swift

Creation is a celebration of bird song. Our lives have seasons of song: there is the annual Christmas carol season that starts at Thanksgiving and goes on forever; there is the Easter Season of hallelujahs that lasts at least 50 days, and all of our days in between are punctuated by song – Anthems at sports events, birthdays, Sunday liturgies and you name it…

One of my best liturgy celebration memories involves the singing of the Eucharistic prayer. The added artistic dimension of song to the most spiritual event just blew me away.

The antidote to sin and its despair is simply the addition of the “G” note. Sin can turn into sing with the addition of one letter. The devil would be disappointed if we could turn our misery into joy in so simple a fashion.

It strikes me that the sounds of heaven are song. The Angels sing and the newly arrived join in the joyous songs of praise. We sing our loved ones out of this world with:
"May the angels lead you into paradise; may the martyrs receive you at your arrival and lead you to the holy city Jerusalem. May choirs of angels receive you and with Lazarus, once a poor man, may you have eternal rest."

And if I may be so bold as to conclude with a tribute to Prince
“God sent his Singers upon earth
With songs of sadness and of mirth,
That they might touch the hearts of men,
And bring them back to heaven again.”
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

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