Sunday, July 08, 2007

Songs of praise

I have alays enjoyed a good Hymn, belted out by an enthusiastic crowd. We sung them all the way through school and I preferred the traditional ones with a good tune to the more modern wishy-washy ones.

However, liking religious music is not enough to get me to church. All this malarkey about worshipping God strikes me as rather silly. Religion is entirely a man-made construct and I think it is a conceit of mankind to think that God is remotely interested in our trivial little lives let alone expect adoration. Religion encourages a value system, certainly, but I'm firmly of the view that an atheist can have an equally valid value system (and some religious people some rather duff ones).

What religion is good at is theatre, the performance of ritual in a way that is rewarding and satisfying for the participants and audience. I have no problem at all with people being religious, provided they don't try to impose their values on me.

Today we went to a family service, principally because David was going to be presented with a small prize for excellent attendance at their Sunday school (acually held on a Saturday). The theme was sheep and we learnt during the session that the Pastor's Wife's middle name was Agnes and her Maiden name was Hogg, both of which had derivations from Lamb and Sheep in other languages. She also did a magic trick with a picture of a sheep- a Brownie painted it black and the words "The Lord is my Shepherd " appeared. In the process of being painted, however, I misread it as "The Lard"!

What I do enjoy about church is the organ music which sounds so much nicer than recorded sound. This Church does not have a regular Organist but someone from over the Pennines was playing today.

We sang five Hymns, only one of which I knew- The Lord's my Shepherd (Psalm 23) set to the traditional tune. Looking through the Hymn book I was impressed to see that there were a total of 798 Hymns, carefully indexed by first line. However, I gather that it is an old edition, Complete Mission praise now having more than 1,000 entries. The Organist played several more recognisable tunes during the proceedings.


Welshcakes Limoncello said...

With you on religion. I'm prepared to discuss it, debate it and even to be convinced in anintelligent conversation in the appropriate circumstances, but I do NOT want it pushed on me! I do like traditional hymns and think it's a pity kids don't know them today - not for their religious value but because they are a part of our culture.

Liz said...

Why is it that I can remember all five verses of 'Now thank we all our God', when I can't remember what I went upstairs for?

Shades said...

Schools are still legally obliged to ensure a daily collective act of worship wholly or mainly Christian in character. I know that in practise this frequently doesn't happen every day and it wasn't even happening thirty years ago.

I've noticed at public events that song sheets will generally show who wrote a hymn and when, great for a fascinating Google at a later occasion.

Liz, I can remember things I did vividly from the 70s but not what happened last week. I think of it as growing old cluelessly.