Sunday 19 April

The Queen reminded us last weekend that the lighting of candles was an important practice in all cultures and faiths. Lighting a candle is a sign that darkness does not have the final word. Light shines in the darkness and the darkness will not overcome it. Light is a sign of hope, a sign of blessing, a sign of love, a sign that we are not alone.

As you may know I belong to a community choir called Sing Gold. We meet usually on Tuesday evenings at St Andrew’s Church Centre in Goldsworth Park, Woking. One of our favourite pieces is “The Lord bless you and keep you”. A prayer of blessing from the Bible set to music by John Rutter.

I just love the way the words and music move in partnership so well. In fact when many of us think of these words from the Old Testament, Rutters’ music often comes to mind. The emphasis on words like Shine and Light serve us, in music, with the gift of hope and peace. The climax is the ancient word Amen. This is more than a simple word of agreement to end prayers. Amen is a deeply communal word which conveys a sense of belonging and being blessed together.