Sunday Reflection: Sing out your faith

Both the First Reading (Acts – the story of Silas and Paul’s night in Prison) and Psalm of today’s RCL (Revised Common Lectionary) had me thinking about the role of song in Faith Formation.

Thinking back over my own experience; and I must declare a Welsh heritage here, by way of understanding that there is a cultural maybe even genetic predisposition to sing. Singing was very much a part of my early experiences, even before me, my parents would perform together at Eisteddfod’s Dad singing to my Mother’s piano. Our piano lived in my bedroom as a pre-schooler, and Mum would often play and sing me off to sleep following our prayers. But it was at church I have a special affinity for, we used hymn books with a melody line and my Dad would teach me how to adjust the melody to my voice range. I would especially like it when I cuddled in and felt his chest expanding as he sang. Also from the time that I could read the numbers it was my job to open the Hymn books to the next hymn. A responsibility I relished.

But, my experience is not unique I have met many people with very different heritages to mine who also have strong cultural heritages of song. I admire those who have said to me that faith comes to them in and through song. I have also met many wonderful people that sing out their faith in many different genre’s.

Through song we can share our faith, while we ourselves learn about faith. It is a shared experience while also being a solitary one.

Though I come from musical roots, unfortunately I didn’t inherit the capacity to create sharable experiences for others, ie. I can’t sing in tune nor play an instrument, but what I do have is the capacity to enjoy musical experiences and find my emotional release in what I listen too.

Hence, I listen to Van Morrison, whose music has many inspired Christian motifs, or Matthew West when I need cheering up, to Moya Brennan Sons of Korah   when I’m in a more reflective phase, and my home and car radio are set to the local Christian radio station. I also enjoy singing along to the old Wesleyan Hymns.

Music is the mainstay of many protestant and catholic denominations, and orthodox services. Even when worshipping in a service that is not my main language I have been immersed in the songs, hymns, and chants, without knowing the words it speaks a universal language of emotion, which connects us all.

In a recent article,   we are reminded how important singing is to a child’s development and how modern parents are failing their children by not singing to them.

Though we talk of the Bible as the word of God, which often has references to God’s Word as being readable, it is also important to remember that Psalms and Song of Solomon were musical as well as verbal. So, it comes as no surprise that music should be considered an important part of faith formation.

Music with actions really gives a brain a good workout. Last year I wrote a post on Australian Children’s faith music To make this an international list i would add Seeds Family Worship   I love Bethel Kids Come Alive  and am looking forward to Fishy Music being more easily accessible on Spotify soon.

One of the stories that was told to us by my Minister in my country church as a school age child, was that of a new choir master who decided to clean up the choir. He culled all those who couldn’t stay in tune, those who missed practice, etc. The choir sounded beautiful, the best it had in years, but one day after a wonderful rendition, a loud voice, assumed to be the voice of God, enquired where the music was, he hadn’t heard it for several weeks. The implication was that what was a beautiful sound to God was that made by people passionate about him. A wonderful message for the tone deaf daughter of musical parents, which may be why I still remember it now.


Wendy L.


KISS Advent for grandparents, ok everyone!

As I prepared this, I was tired, jet lagged, and sick. More and more wonderful stuff kept coming in from my “sources” on the great ways to practice Faith Formation with the family for Advent. Or options to use for Intergen services. Overwhelmed did not come close to explaining how I was feeling.

So, I threw my hands up and went. Enough. Maybe I was only meant to pursue this blog approach to sharing the faith for 12 months. Then it occurred to me. If I was feeling bombarded how were the families feeling.

Now, for those of you reading who live outside of Australia, you need to know that December is the busiest month for families. It is the end of the school year. Our weather helps by providing us with longer, warmer days, so that lets us pack in way more in a day then is good for anyone. That is unless you are affected by our natural disasters such as Bushfires and Cyclones. In which case trauma, becomes a whole different topic. But usually, this is the season for end of concerts- school, ballet, music classes, work, and then there is the get to gather’s, usually around the BBQ in the extending daylight. This may be the time of the year when grandparents are called on the most. Adult children, need extra babysitting services for their offspring (your beloved grandchildren) as they try to stay social and fit in all the work commitments. Grandparents are required at ALL the end of Concerts/events. Many Grandparents are still working themselves and may very well have parents of their own that need extra care at this time of the year.

Overwhelming does not even cut it. Exhaustion in big servings, is the order of the day.

So how can we honour the season of Advent in our lives and our homes, and influence all the generations we have around us? KISS, yes Keep It Simple S (ok you know the rest). And a few extra kisses won’t go astray either!


In the midst of the chaos, a moment to reflect, is a positive strategy for you and sets a good example for those around you.

Mine is simple, by sharing it I hope you will find something in your everyday that keeps you focused on the reason for the season.

I have a Magnolia plant that blossoms during Advent, The buds remind me of candles in their shape, and like a flame when the flower opens it spreads out exiting perfume and visual delight. Then like a candle it dies, turns brown, leaving like a candle the essence of what had been and what is to come. I love watching the plant bud, bloom and die, and it reminds me of Christ’s impact on the earth, our own short trajectory, and the continuity of God though history and our lives, from birth to death. This simple visual meditation, opens me up to listening for God.


In a previous home we had two beautiful Christmas Wattles that bloom red flower crowns during Advent. The colour reminded me of Pentecost and that we celebrate God bursting into this world in human form for us.

If you like to colour in, you might like A sanctified Arts Advent book,

I settle down when everyone has gone to sleep, make a cuppa, I like lavender and chamomile at the moment, and just spend a quiet few minutes this way.

But you might prefer the very quick, 3 minute in fact, 3 minute retreat by Sacred Spaces, you can down load the app on your phone

Decorating for Advent

How do you send a firm signal that this is a home celebrating Christian Advent and Christmas not just commercial Christmas?

Think about the way you decorate,

what are really simple ways to make a small statement

Our stocking say Hope, Peace, Love and Joy


Keep an Advent candle circle in a prominent place. I add a candle each week as we count down. Those family members who only visit a church with you on Christmas day will have been trained by you to understand what this means.

OR have a cake at the end of each weekly family dinner, with a purple candle on it for each week of the advent calendar. So start with 1 purple(or blue) candle, then 2 purple (or blue) candles 2 purple and 1 pink- week 3, then 3 purple 1 week. (many years ago I read of this idea but I can’t find the reference)

Use purple and white in your Christmas Tree decorations and choose decorations that can help you tell a faith story to your grandchildren. Better still get them to help you make them.

REMEMBER the object is to share the faith story, these are just prompts for others to ask, or for you to tell about your faith.

Advent Calendar

Make this beautiful version, better still get the children to help you make it

or use the ideas’ here


Fill the house with meaningful Christmas music, Choose a Christmas radio station, or use Spotify Try Christian Children’s Kids songs

Or my favourite

Choose a style of music that suits you or your family members. from traditional to Colin Buchanan or

Seeds that have a strong Biblical base

Create a family band.

Family Reflection options

You can grab one of the many family reflection options such as


Great for sharing with grandchildren through the Advent season as they come and go

Keep it Simple

red kiss neon light signage on dark lit room
Photo by Tim Mossholder on

Show your family how easy it is to fit Advent into the busiest time of the year.

That faith enhances, not weigh’s us down.

Hopefully they may find that faith is what has been missing from their lives.

Lead the way.


Wendy L.





As it is naidoc week I should put a post on inclusiveness or the best Aboriginal faith sites I am aware of, something! But I’m choosing not to write anything, because my voice is truely unworthy during such a significant week.

I will say that I appreciate the strength of stories, my faith stories have great power, they are an important intergenerational teaching tool. It is one of the premises behind the Tuesday posts on engaging the 3’s and under in the RCL readings. For the same reasons  the stories of our first nation people, those they choose to share as well as the ones that they especially keep for themselves, have power. It is our loss if we fail to listen to these stories, both those over time, and the newer stories.

What I do feel lead to share this week is my thoughts on community, stories are a part of that, but so is song. This is where I really should begin. After a day of flights, it was another airport and another half day, at least till I was near home. I had gone through another security point, and I was feeling tense, when I heard a young women’s voice, with unmistakable Aussie accent, I looked around and there was a Mum singing to her preschooler. The smile immediately went back on my face, and I hope she saw it, and interpreted it favourably. I noticed that people ahead of me in my queue must have also heard it, as the general body language appeared to change. This Mum was creating a shared response, a feeling of community.

To me it was a typical playgroup moment. I wondered if they had learnt the song at a playgroup, christian or otherwise. It started me thinking of the very important place our playgroups have in creating community. Often a Child and Family ministry requires a playgroup, often it is seen as outreach or church building, and it definitely has that role, but often when measured against that role it fails. Very few playgroups flow through to increased church numbers. Though some congregations have found the “formulae” that makes it work. But what if we are measuring their success inadequately? What if the value they add is community, and the creation of the community beyond the church fence is the outcome. Does the presence of the playgroup add goodwill from our neighbours to us?

These were some of my thoughts as I whittled away the hours til I was home. My favourite place in the world. But for a moment I felt “home” in a strange country, for a moment by the familiar sound of an accent singing, and like that child I was transported to a feeling of security by a song, and I felt a part of a broader community, not alienated in it.


Wendy L

Aussie Music Music Music in the key of Faith

Faith expression and music go hand in hand. John Wesley thought it so important that he wrote a list( a long list) of important requirements.

So I thought I would run through a few Christian Australian musicians making children’s music.

Colin Buchanan numerous see

J for Jesus by Emu Music

or Get Ready for the slightly older crew

Snack Music

Sean Smith

or more mellow try Heather Price

Have fun finding the style that suits your family/ies best.

Let me know of others so we can expand this list


Wendy L.