It will come as no surprise to those that know me, that I believe in the power of singing.  Not just the power of a song, but the actual act of producing the song with our voices.  I am also one of those that believes everybody can sing, everybody has a voice.  It bothers me deeply the many, many stories I’ve heard over the years from people who say they cannot sing because some adult told them as a child to mouth the words…because they weren’t good enough.  We are all good enough.  Simply because we are.  Our voices are a gift and our ability to raise them in song is fundamentally human, and fundamentally good.

So, today I offer a song about singing.  The words to this gospel hymn were written by Civilla D. Martin in 1905 and are said to have been inspired by one of her close friendships.  These friends were a couple consisting of a bedridden woman and a man bound to a wheelchair.  When Martin’s husband commented on their joyful hopefulness, the woman said, “His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.”  Martin was inspired by the kind of faith that could find happiness beyond day to day realities, lives that were bringing comfort to others.  Sharing the good that exists in every place, obvious or not.

Why should I feel discouraged, why should the shadows come,
Why should my heart be lonely, and long for heaven and home,
When Jesus is my portion? My constant friend is He;
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.

I sing because I’m happy,
I sing because I’m free,
For His eye is on the sparrow,
And I know He watches me.

“Let not your heart be troubled,” His tender word I hear,
And resting on His goodness, I lose my doubts and fears;
Though by the path He leadeth, but one step I may see;
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.

Obviously these words are about a deep faith in God.  And for those who believe, it offers a great comfort.  The knowledge that even the smallest creature is cared for reminds us that we are all important, all worth watching over.  But even for those of us that may not look at things in these terms, there is something to be found in these words.  There is something quite powerful in the knowledge that none of us is insignificant.  We all matter.  Perhaps we are looked after by family or friends, or rejuvenate in the sunshine or fresh air.  Maybe we listen to music or read poetry and find our souls cared for by the creativity and gifts of others, past and present.  Every good gift offered is a way of watching over those we know, those we’ve never met, those who are not yet here.  These gifts travel over space and time, in all kinds of ways.  Feeding others who are then able to give, lifting the spirits of those who are resting.

So sing.  In whatever way you can.  The sound of your voice is far less important than the song you offer.  It is our collective singing that will watch over the sparrows, the lonely, the sick and the weary.  Your songs may be filled with practical help or simply express whatever we need to feel.  And, when we understand that we are being watched over, the discouraging shadows and loneliness begin to recede.  Our troubles rest on this goodness, allowing our doubts and fears to be lost.

Sing loud.  Sing strong.  Sing metaphorically or literally.  Our voices are filled with goodness.  We sing because we’re happy.  Not because this is easy, but because we can.  And this will set us free.