Around midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. – Acts 16:25
The psychologist William James once said, “We do not sing because we are happy. We are happy because we sing.”
There is something healing, something that connects us with God, when we sing.
In the last days of my stepmother’s life, she lay in the hospital bed with eyes closed, unable to talk. We tried to communicate with her, but she was unresponsive.
It became inevitable that she was going to die. So, we moved to giving her comfort. We told her how much we loved her. We held her hand, hugged her, stroked her hair. Still, as days went by, there was no response.
Finally, late one evening, we said to her, “Mom do you remember your favorite hymn?” And we quietly sang to her, “How Great Thou Art.” We stopped midway through the first verse, because we heard a noise. Her lips were slightly moving, and there was a soft humming coming from her throat. She, in a coma, was singing along with us.
We were shocked. We sang the rest of the hymn, and she kept on singing. Then we turned to “Amazing Grace.” She sang that as well.
As I remember it, up through the day she died, we sang hymns to her, and she kept on singing. She never opened her eyes, never returned the grasp on her hand, never said anything. She just kept singing. I can only imagine the power and comfort she must have felt as her soul sang those hymns of faith. One evening she simply slipped away—and joined the choir on the other side.
Mom proved another saying of William James. “Music is God’s gift to [us], the only art of heaven given to earth, the only art of earth we take to heaven.”