Thought for the Day by Richard Barton (All Hallows’)
The first thing that came to my mind when asked to write a thought for the day about finding God in Headingly and Hyde Park was Sacred Wing. Sacred Wing is a lesbian bisexual and gay choir who sing at one concert a year at All Hallows the Sunday before Christmas. They sing usually classical choral pieces such as Mozarts Requiem, Goodalls Eternal light, pieces I tend to love and follow it up with carol concert with traditional carols interspersed with readings from unusual sources about finding light and hope amongst the pain of the world, usually none of them from the Bible. These concerts for me, with the beauty of the music, the integrity of the ambition of the singers and the ingenuity of the carol concert and readings, are always an intrinsic part of Christmas.
On their facebook page Sacred Wing describe themselves as “The straight-friendly, atheist-friendly Leeds lgb religious choir!” People who sing in the concerts are not just from any sexual orientation, but from any religious persuasion and none. You just need a love of singing, and in particular a love of singing music usually inspired by the divine.
We all have to admit that we are generally surrounded by people who have essentially no faith. In Hyde Park where All Hallows is, for example almost 40% of people in the last census professed to have no religious faith. Our atheist fellow citizens may differ in their attitude towards religion. Prof. Richard Dawkins author of The God Delusion rages against what he sees not only as the stupidity of belief but also the privileges of the established church. Whilst the physicist Prof Brian Cox whilst having no faith often seeks to build dialog amongst people of differing beliefs and has spoken at meetings of Anglian clergy. People of the former persuasion seem rarer to me and I would confess that I know many people with no faith who show to me utterly amazing, Christ like behaviour of love and sacrifice, that humbles my own profession of faith.
So ultimately I would urge us all to profess our faith, with confidence, but with humility and seek to live and work and love, peoples of all faiths and of none. Then we might create the kind of harmonies you might hear at a Sacred Wing concert.
Listen to the distanced choir members sing Bob Chilcotts “Irish Blessing”