I spoke to you
At your first Sound.
Know that I AM God.
Our first sound is the human cry that we all express loudly at birth. The lungs open and inhale air for the first time. Exhaling this air for the first time, we cry out, and it is this sound that is the catalyst to the joyful witness of birth that all present respond to. New life has emerged from the invisible world into the visible. New hope springs into our hearts, however jaded they have become with life or living, at this new possibility, this new horizon stretching out into the future for this child. Thus each one of us brings with us the gift of hope and joy upon our arrival. It is our first gift. Whether it is always acceptable is another matter; but it is the gift we bring to offer with our arrival. Our gurgles and giggles bring smiles to the faces of elders whose own faces crumple to mimic this new child, so recently abiding in the eternal realms. The realms that they know they will return to in advance of this child.
We will continue to use sound throughout our lives. We use sound to communicate, to create, to inspire and comfort, to call for help and to reach out, extending ourselves throughout the world. It acts as the comforting link to the invisible realms we have left, in our prayers and our meditations. So sound links us with past and future and roots us in present. It locates us in our particular place of time and space. Sound organised into music inspires billions of us, giving us pleasure and invoking memory within us. We all have ‘special songs’ that when hearing even years later, transport us through time to the place we were at, the person we were with and a replay of that time, instantly. Sound transports us. It also gives us practise at transcending; at times with certain pieces of music we can truly feel that we have risen up, out of our bodies, our spirits soar and we inhabit a different perspective of place, timeless, eternal, a place which is full, rich and deeply experiential. Gifted souls have created this music for us; shared the sound within them and extended it out for us all to hear.
Sound has great associations for us and links us. A national anthem pulls the heart, music played at memorial services, these have been part of our sound landscape since we could first hear. They are familiar and stir us, move us in time and space and link us with the others of our larger society, our nation. They are something in common that we share. This is particularly acute for people who emigrate to other countries. Though living lives elsewhere to their country of birth arrival, when they hear those familiar national sounds, a reaction surges through them, a poignancy, a remembrance. The sound embraces them in a collective hug, though miles away. Mention the hymn Jerusalem to any British person and they will respond by either starting to sing it, or mention the ‘last night of the Proms’ which is an eight week classical music festival that takes place in the Albert Hall, London leading to the frenzy of ‘The Last Night’ where the audience joins forces with the orchestra for the first time and roars out this hymn in unison, accompanied by much flag waving, English, Welsh, Scots and Irish. It was Blake that wrote the poem as a preface to his epic, Milton A Poem, one of a collection of books known as the Prophetic Books. The poem was inspired by the apocryphal story that Jesus as a young boy was brought to England by his uncle Joseph of Arimathea and even spent time in what is termed his ‘lost years’. It is such a powerful piece of national patriotic music that recently Prince William and Kate Middleton as she was then, chose it as a hymn for their wedding. Sound is evocative, unifying yet deeply personal too.
To finish this blog today I am putting in some personal links to hymns that have meaning for my family. These are their favourites and in researching this I found to my astonishment that they do say a lot about us as individuals too! I start with Jerusalem which is the English nations favourite. Sorry about the inevitable YouTube ads. I do hope you enjoy these sounds and will be inspired to look out a few of your old favourites too; and rejoice that God spoke to us at our first sound.
Jerusalem [at William and Kate’s Wedding]:
Oh Jesus I have Promised:
My husbands Favourite:
Abide with Me:
My Dad’s Hymn [now aged 90, he was a gunner in the Lancaster Bombers, based in Lincoln, during Word War 2]
The Airman’s Hymn:
And lastly, my Mum’s favourite:
Loves Divine, All Loves Excelling:
The photo below is my fathers flight crew, my beautiful Dad is on the far right, back row.