One of the most moving experiences of this week was watching a YouTube video about a flash mob performance of Ode to Joy.
On Sunday during a Carol Service a small group of us sang a carol I had written which is set to the theme of Beethoven’s Ode to Joy. (See below for the words.) So the tune was going through my thoughts quite a lot. I watched several different versions on YouTube, but this was the most powerful. It was the combination of surprise, all ages enjoying the experience together, and the gift of music from the orchestra to the crowd. The Carol service had been well planned but of course there are always differences from the plan to the execution.
The theme was the phrase “Glory to God. Peace on Earth. Goodwill to all.” We expressed it through traditional Christmas readings and carols, and through three short ‘messages’ – for the world, our society and ourselves. Despite being part of the planning group the service was still unpredictable, though in the end I found it both satisfying and challenging.
One of the other strange but good experiences this week was watching a television programme about Quantum physics, presented by Professor Jim Al-Khalili. ‘The Secrets of the Quantum Universe’ was only two episode but they were fascinating. The first told the story of the debate between two of the greatest physicists of the twentieth century, Neils Bohr and Albert Einstein, about the nature of the universe, which revolves around the way we understand quantum phenomena. The second episode, ‘Let There Be Life’ explored how quantum effects are being discovered in other scientific fields such as the study of navigation in birds, the way that the nose identifies smells, the operation of photosynthesis and even evolution through mutation. Particles in the quantum world are unpredictable, but some of their characteristics, like entanglement, make things happen as if by magic.
On a more mundane but human level, the shared lunch after Meeting for Worship on Sunday was another example of unpredictable order. We all brought different things to eat but the result was a feast and a festival. The warmth of the relationships was a pleasant product beyond the shared food.
For all the unpredictability of the universe, I still believe that love lies at the heart of everything.
The Angelic Song
1. Angels sing your songs of glory;
promise peace for all the earth.
Let your light surround the story
of the Chosen’s lowly birth.
We will join your joyful singing
echoing the timeless theme
of salvation here among us
and the Gospel’s present worth.
2. God will banish our deep darkness,
break our burdens, free our fears.
We will see in shining starlight
how the message spans the years.
We will sing the songs of glory
celebrate God’s love and peace.
We will work for world-wide justice
till the bright new world appears.