Support the Café
Search our site

Speaking to the Soul: Sing to the Lord a new song

Speaking to the Soul: Sing to the Lord a new song

Sing to the Lord a new song.

Sing to the Lord, all the whole earth.  Psalm 96:1

Since the beginning of the new year, I have been folding paper cranes.  It wasn’t a conscious intention to make this a spiritual practice – and I’m not sure it really is one.  It’s just that I got this square watercolor paper for Christmas along with some beautiful origami paper, and one thing led to another.

Having begun, though, I can see why this practice is valued by those who do it intentionally, why folding a thousand cranes would change a person’s consciousness.  On my blank square watercolor paper I have made mandalas, rich and vibrant abstracts that are an expression of my soul.  And my origami paper is a set of reproductions of Japanese landscapes, gorgeous in their peaceful intensity.  So the material of which I am forming the cranes is already very lovely.

Then I fold – clumsily and sloppily at best.  While I do so I ruminate on geometry and topography, paper lanterns and little boats, then digress to my upcoming show and the grocery list.  And beneath my fingertips the colors and landscapes on the paper are transformed into the suggestions of birds, birds in flight.   I am put in mind of all the graceful power of huge wings – and then of angels – and of fire.  My heart lifts in a sort of silent song made of air and light, my own creaturely nature reflected in this image of muscled appendages lifting a body into the sky.

Singing the Lord a new song happens in as many ways as there are folded paper cranes.  We paint pictures, we play instruments, we walk or run and notice the hammer of our feet against the ground.  We build houses or make dinners or give a boost to someone who is faltering.  We praise, we adore, we grieve, we demand.

Our songs are sometimes sad, sometimes angry, occasionally full of joy or wonder.  Each song is different.  Not only does it use its own very particular media but it is also informed by its specific culture and its time.  The hand of each singer is unique, and the emotions and thoughts that inspire the song are exclusive to that one person in that single instance.

But all the songs are altars upon which the human heart dedicates itself.  All the movements of our souls ultimately lead us back to our one central relationship with our Creator.  To be in that relationship – that is both God’s yearning and ours.  So no matter who we are or what we are going through, we can return to center through our song.

Mindful of that, let us sing.  Let us sing today’s new song, the song that is appropriate to the circumstances of each of our hearts and to the hearts of all who live in our worlds with us.  Let us sing unto the Lord a new song.

Laurie Gudim is a writer and religious iconographer who lives in Fort Collins, CO.  You can view some of her work at Everyday Mysteries

Image by Laurie Gudim

Dislike (0)
Facebooktwitterpinterestlinkedinmail

Café Comments?

Our comment policy requires that you use your real first and last names and provide an email address (your email will not be published). Comments that use non-PG rated language, include personal attacks, that are not provable as fact or that we deem in any way to be counter to our mission of fostering respectful dialogue will not be posted.

Facebooktwitterrss
Support the Café
Past Posts
2020_001

The Episcopal Café seeks to be an independent voice, reporting and reflecting on the Episcopal Church and the Anglican tradition.  The Café is not a platform of advocacy, but it does aim to tell the story of the church from the perspective of Progressive Christianity.  Our collective sympathy, as the Café, lies with the project of widening the circle of inclusion within the church and empowering all the baptized for the role to which they have been called as followers of Christ.

The opinions expressed at the Café are those of individual contributors, and, unless otherwise noted, should not be interpreted as official statements of a parish, diocese or other organization. The art and articles that appear here remain the property of their creators.

All Content  © 2017 Episcopal Café