by Allison Winter
Allison Winter is a journalist, catechist and mother. She has been on the board for the Center for Children and Theology since 2015 and is delighted to step into a new role this year as the communications director for CCTheo’s work on the Christian Parenting and Caregiving Initiative. She lives in Washington, DC.
Sometimes the Holy Spirit speaks to us in a melody.
It was another day of household drudgery on a dark December morning. I headed to the basement to do laundry with my son, who was three years old at the time. But as I pulled wet laundry from the machine, my son marched up and down the hall and sang: “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light!”
Suddenly the household drudgery was not so dull. My son’s song was a glimmer to remind me of the Great Light. The sacred came to the mundane. Jesus came to the washerwoman. God came to Earth and deigned to be a baby. And someone washed His clothes.
We all have stories like this – when music lifted us or the children around us. Music can be transcendent and worshipful in the atrium, as children lift their voices in song. Music can also meet us in the ordinary. It can join us on a carpool or household chores. Hundreds of catechists and children have enjoyed our songbooks “Sing with Joy”and “Songs of Love.” As part of our new work with Grace Space, we want to expand our catalog of music and make it more accessible for caregivers and catechists alike.
We would like to gather more joyful, loving music and share it so it can be used in an atrium or become the prayerful soundtrack of another family’s chores.
Songs can be a prayer and universal language of the heart. But what if you never hear music from your own language or culture? Our richly diverse Christian community can expand our songs of praise and prayer.
Are there songs that have enriched your time with children? What music fosters prayer, hospitality, wonder, communion, love of creation and joy in the children in your life?
We are collecting your suggestions as we begin this new work. Please take five minutes to fill out this survey and share your suggestions. If you have multiple song suggestions, please fill out the survey as many times as you like! This is for new suggestions. We do not need you to fill it out for the songs in “Sing with Joy” and “Songs of Love” that we already know and love.
Let us know how this music is used in your atrium or home. And if you have a recording or sheet music, please share it! How can we enrich the spiritual lives of families through song?
In my son’s classroom, the traditional West African tune “Funga Alafia” was a joyful gathering song for all of the students. One classmate would bang on a drum and others waved their arms as they sang of gathering in peace and goodwill. One child stretched his arms out wide as he sang “Peace! and unity!! Ashe, ashe!”
When we stretch our arms open wide, what peace and unity can we find? What joy and light can we bring to everyday life when we set our work and chores to prayerful music?