The festive period just past drew me to our C. of E. church. All was warm and friendly and it was good to see hymns included old favourites Hills Of The North Rejoice and Hark The Herald Angels Sing, or so I thought at first.
In fact, Herald Angels turned out to be another, less hearty hymn most people didn’t know and only murmured beneath the choir’s soaring tones.
Even worse, old school favourite Hills of the North seemed slower and less rousing.
Had I remembered it wrongly? Then I spotted a note in the new-style hymn book – it had been ‘amended’.
On a TV carols service later, Hark The Herald Angels was sung – but slowed, too, and altered to be ‘more inclusive’.
Strange that, I always thought the church did welcome all!
Was this the same kill-joy revision trying to ban the triumphal singing of Jerusalem and Land Of Hope And Glory on the Last Night Of The Proms?
Fortunately, the hearty audiences still insist upon them.
Even the Lord’s Prayer is revised, though I still chant the traditional version which has sinners ‘trespassing’ and ‘power and glory for ever and ever’.
The heart of the matter is that, despite all our feasting and celebrating, true joy springs from within; not from amended hymns or new-style prayers either. Let’s continue to sing out loudly for that spiritual gleefulness which makes us glad to be alive.
Such fulfilment doesn’t depend upon owning more things; nor by being at the top of the pile; not even from such pleasures as eating or drinking; but upon our soul.
I’m not one to preach but, throughout this uncertain New Year, let’s remember what really counts and keep our mood bright.
Goodwill needn’t end with the season, let’s share that sentiment right through!
* Books by Roy – fiction and memoir - are on Kindle or in paperback. Visit royedmonds-blackpool.com or Waterstones.