Sunday, January 29, 2012

A new beginning every day

I sing more than I pray. For the 25 years I have been with the Cathedral Choir, my singing has been my offering to my God. I’m not there for the solos (they stress me when I must sing them), nor the concerts (I can’t manage them any more), not even for the big masses at Easter and Christmas (though I know I must sing them as part of a church choir). I am there for the regular masses, for the hymns, for the words, for the hair-raising beauty of a four-part harmony. It means that I sometimes sing with tears threatening, and I have been known to cry every year as we walk and sing How Great Thou Art on our annual Christ the King procession. Embarrassing and almost inevitable...
I pray when I sing. Which is why my morning prayer, more often than not, is a hymn or a song. My favourite is one by Rabindranath Tagore that many of us probably sang in school assemblies:

“I have come to thee to take thy touch before I begin my day.
Let thy eye rest upon my eyes for a while.
“I have come to thee to take thy touch before I begin my day.
Let me take to my work the assurance of thy comradeship, my friend.
“I have come to thee to take thy touch before I begin my day.
Fill my mind with thy music to last through the desert of noise.
“I have come to thee to take thy touch before I begin my day.
Let thy love's sunshine kiss the peaks of my thoughts and linger in my life's valley where the harvest ripens.”

And then, there is Beginning Today, a hymn we sing for weddings. Yup, weddings! And when my gal pal Vivienne was still in Mumbai, she would sing the verses as a solo, against our over-enthusiastic humming. It works brilliantly as a morning piece.
“Beginning today, my mornings are yours,
The hope that dawns in their light.
Beginning today, my evenings and dreams,
my gift to you is my life.

   “I will always remember the time you first called me,
   Out of my empty sleep
   To waken in me the hope of a new day,
   The love I wanted to seek.

“You gave me your life, Lord, as sign of the springtime,
Beginning in me each day.
You made me a person, with wonder and love, Lord,
To newly discover your way.”

And finally, a rediscovered favourite – Cat Stevens’s Morning has broken. Here’s a YouTube video of a live performance in 1973.

“Morning has broken, like the first morning.
Blackbird has spoken, like the first bird.
Praise for the singing, praise for the morning.
Praise for them springing fresh from the Word.
   “Sweet the rain’s new fall, sunlit from heaven,
   Like the first dewfall, on the first grass.
   Praise for the sweetness of the wet garden,
   Sprung in completeness where His feet pass.
“Mine is the sunlight, mine is the morning,
Born of the one light Eden saw play.
Praise with elation, praise every morning,
God’s recreation of the new day.”

And just a quick line to say: Mario, thank you. Twenty-five years is a long time. Through love, heartbreak, love again, marriage, pregnancy, raising Zach... Thank you, very much, for the music. You can never imagine how much it has always meant in my life.


1 comment:

  1. Love this - the songs and pic you've chosen to put at the start of this post. Remember learning 'Beginning today' in school & surprisingly remembered most of it when I was reading thru the words...Thank you, God, for the gift of music.


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