Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Music in Morning Time

 Day 7~

 After we finish the meeting part of Morning Time we move into worship. The first thing we do, even before we pray, and I think that is appropriate, is sing Psalms or hymns or spiritual songs.

This singing is not as easy as it sounds. It began because I wanted the kids to know the hymns we were singing in church even before they could read the hymnal. In fact, you could say that before we added music Morning Time was just a jumble of morning events but after we added it our time together had definition. I am not sure why music works like this but it does.

When we had a lot of people at home, this singing time was good. Then we went through a few dry years after two of our better singers grew up. We muddled through a couple dismal years of singing and then I deleted this time from Morning Time. We were running to shut the windows every day before we sang and no one was happy.

After I spoke at the Circe Conference about MT a couple of years ago and mentioned our singing failure, many, many women came up to me and gently rebuked me for not scheduling singing into MT just because we sounded awful.  I bucked myself up to work through our family hymnbook one more time and in fact, we are now on the last hymn in the book.

Since that rebuke something happened. We started to enjoy singing again and now that I think of MT as a liturgy, I cannot see my way clear to quit singing, even if we only do the Gloria Patri or the Doxology each day.

To create our family hymnbook, we started learning one hymn.  We sang that hymn every day for weeks adding one more verse each week. Week one we would sing the first verse of the hymn. Week two would have us singing verses 1 and 2 each day. We did this until we had learned all the appropriate verses.
Then we added that hymn to our review list. Eventually, each day we were working on our new hymn, singing it daily over several weeks, and we were reviewing one old hymn each day.  That had us singing two hymns a day for years and years and years.

If you look at our hymnbook, eventually I printed out lyrics from the Cyberhymnal or photocopied hymnbook pages and made 4 family books, you can follow us on a theological journey from traditional lighter hymns to more complex hymns to Psalms to newer music from people like the Gettys.  It has been a musical journey.

For years and years, I scrambled around the house each day trying to remember which hymnbook had which hymn. My husband and I both grew up using the C&MA hymnbook Songs of the Christian Life. Later we added other denominational hymnbooks to our collection and psalters, too.  This scrambling began taking up too much time and I began to develop strategies to avoid the morning scramble in the area of music and other sections of MT too.  For music I printed out 4 copies, in one form or another, every song we had ever learned. I made up a table of contents and we had our own family hymnbooks which only required us to turn to the next page each day.

The Internet also added some helps. If we have trouble hitting certain notes we can Google the hymn and hear someone else singing it or even sing along to YouTube. This has been a big help as our numbers have dwindled.

Tomorrow I will share a list of my favorite songs that we have learned together over the years.

Suggestion of the Day for Morning Time Memory:

Immortal, Invisible 

Text: Walter Chalmers Smith
Music: Welsh melody from John Roberts's Canaidau y Cyssegr
Tune: ST. DENIO, Meter: 11 11.11 11 

1. Immortal, invisible, God only wise, 
 in light inaccessible hid from our eyes, 
 most blessed, most glorious, the Ancient of Days, 
 almighty, victorious, thy great name we praise.

2. Unresting, unhasting, and silent as light, 
 nor wanting, nor wasting, thou rulest in might; 
 thy justice like mountains high soaring above 
 thy clouds which are fountains of goodness and love.
3. To all, life thou givest, to both great and small; 
 in all life thou livest, the true life of all; 
 we blossom and flourish as leaves on the tree, 
 and wither and perish, but naught changeth thee.

4. Thou reignest in glory; thou dwellest in light; 
 thine angels adore thee, all veiling their sight; 
 all laud we would render:  O help us to see 
 'tis only the splendor of light hideth thee.

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