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2 minutes
First broadcast:
Saturday 08 December 2012

A reading and a reflection to start the day on Radio 4 with Canon Jenny Wigley.


    Good morning. He wrote songs that could be sweet or sad...powerful or sing-a-long...and that could inspire a generation. And although it’s 32 years to the day that John Lennon died, his influence continues both on singers and writers, and those like me who simply listen to his music.

    Being born in Wales, I have grown up with the assumption that music is part of my heritage, that singing is just what we do when we want to express our shared identity. So we belt out hymns and arias at the Millennium Stadium to cheer on the Welsh team – though it’s Tom Jones rather than John Lennon who’s provided us with the pop song of choice!

    Music can capture a mood or create it, and with the Beatles Lennon did both. He sometimes set out to exert influence quite self-consciously, as in the famous ‘bed in’ for peace as well as through the lyrics of his songs. He had influence, certainly, and attitude – lots of it! And he stands in a very long tradition.

    The musical heritage of faith communities can go back centuries. I think of the prophets and poets of Old Testament times who sang their songs to challenge those who ill treated others, or who turned their back on God. And they gave musical form to their visions of heaven. The very last book of the New Testament, the book of Revelation, is full of accounts of the songs of the angels and the saints. Their music is what connects heaven and earth, present and future.

    One of John Lennon’s most famous songs invites us to ‘Imagine there’s no heaven’. The scriptures invite us to do the opposite. And to my mind, it’s music that can make it ‘easy if you try.’

    Lord, we thank you for music which lifts our hearts, calms our fears, and speaks to our souls. We join our song with the whole company of heaven as we sing: Holy, holy, holy, Lord God of hosts. The whole earth is full of your glory. Amen.


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