There Is Sunshine in My Soul Today #CopingWithCOVID19
Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands. Serve the Lord with gladness: come before his presence with singing.Psalm 100:1-2
My ward started meeting again back in September – sacrament meeting only with no singing. There are only two things that I can get from in-person meetings that I can’t get any other way – the ability to take the sacrament, and congregational singing. I’ve attended church regularly since meetings resumed, figuring that 50% of what church can give me is better than nothing, and the sacrament is more important to me than singing, anyway. But oh, how I missed singing.
On Saturday night, the ward clerk sent an email saying that we had received approval to begin singing in church again. I was so excited. I arrived at church on Sunday morning. There were new missionaries, and they were sitting in my usual pew, so I found a different one to sit in. The ward music chair approached me and asked me if I would still be willing to do a special musical number once he gets the word that vocal solos are allowed. I said yes. (I was scheduled to sing Consider the Lilies back in March 2020, and church shut down right before it happened.)
Church began, and the opening hymn was God Speed the Right. The words reflected back to me, bouncing off of my face shield, and the music was muffled through the masks of my co-congregants. My voice was creaky and rusty from months of disuse. “Now to heaven our prayer ascending” and ascend it did, even in its imperfection.
The sacrament hymn was Upon the Cross of Calvary. Ever since I was sporadically denied the sacrament during church closure for the supposed sin of being a single woman, I’ve decided never to take it for granted again. Taking the sacrament again in a communal setting was holy. But singing beforehand made it even better.
The closing hymn was There Is Sunshine in My Soul Today. I find this to be the second most annoying hymn in the hymnal. It just grates on me. When I was the ward music chair, I skipped it for a whole year until I got several requests to put it on the program. I picked a week when I knew I would be out of town so I wouldn’t have to hear it. But when it came time to sing it, I belted it out with the rest of the congregation. Somehow, it wasn’t so irritating this time around.
I’ve gotten the sacrament back. I’ve gotten singing back. Little by little, the sun is peeking out from behind the clouds with the promise that this storm will blow over eventually. And one day I’ll be able to return to my little flock at the jail and be their chaplain again. And I’ll sing with them, too.
For my soul delighteth in the song of the heart; yea, the song of the righteous is a prayer unto me, and it shall be answered with a blessing upon their heads.Doctrine and Covenants 25:12