Last week I shared this quote from St. Augustine to a friend:
"Let us sing now, not in order to enjoy a life of leisure, but in order to lighten your labors. You should sing as wayfarers do—sing, but continue your journey. Do not be lazy, but sing to make your journey more enjoyable. Sing, but keep going."
My friend shared that after reading this he could only think about how singing today is more about entertainment and escape than it is about a discipline. He went on to say that singing has become something that we do in private or at best quietly in a group. We sing only the songs we like and we sing as a way to transport us to another place (usually a past experience). So if there is a song that we do not like or do not have a connection with then we resist singing it.
Singing to my friend is more of a discipline than entertainment. It is something that focuses the mind and Spirit so that we might be more intentional with the task at hand. Therefore it is important to sing even the songs we do not like because it forces us to face things we do not like and examine why we do not like them. Sure we can sing for entertainment, but if we are only singing to escape then we have missed the point of music - that is to connect us with one another, with God and with ourselves.
In light of the previous post of preserving the residues of tradition, I offer up this beautiful song of a Gregorian Chant mashed up with Swing Low, Sweet Chariot.