This weekend I have the honour of providing the soundtrack to a friend’s wedding. It will be small and socially distanced in a beautiful open space – only family plus the pastor, the photographer and myself. I’m so looking forward to it. This is not the wedding that these friends imagined when they started planning months ago; the pandemic reality has shifted many peoples’ plans. But it will still be lovely and special.
And I love their song choices. They have asked for some hymns at the start – songs upon which generations of people have stood, and for the signing, a new song I had to learn this week. It’s a beautiful blending of old and new.
The privilege of attending a marriage ceremony during COVID times is not lost on me. It speaks of new beginnings and of hope. It speaks of optimism and dreams, of commitment, determination and grace – and obviously of love. Some of us have struggled to see these things in our day-to-day living recently.
Events south of the border are also reminding us that it is in each of us to be kind, to show love, patience and forgiveness, determination and grace and to stand up for each other and to stand with each other for good.
Historically, music has been a part of these things. Of ritual, of hope – of unity and of protest. Music unites and will continue to unite long after we’re gone. Even though group singing is still considered a high risk activity, we can still rally around sound. Here is the anthem from the American Civil Rights movement. With the turmoil that is happening in our world in so many ways, we can still join voices in our own spaces with the inimitable Mahalia Jackson (in this version), and declare that “We Shall Overcome“.
Whatever you’re facing this weekend, friends, remember that you are not alone. I’ll be celebrating love and the start of a new life together. Some of you may be protesting or serving folk in different ways in the coming days. Be well, be strong and raise your voice.
Life continues to move on, even in these strange times. Let’s keep shining.