Singing From Their Windows

March 19, 2020
Volume 24, Number 10

China has been hit hard by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). A recent report shows that over 3,200 have died from its effects. What is more alarming, perhaps, is that in Italy the number of those who have succumbed to COVID-19 is only slightly less, almost 3,000. Italy’s population is significantly smaller than China’s.

This helps explain the drastic actions being taken as Italy seeks to contain this plague. People are virtually restricted to their homes. Yet Italians are showing their resilience by singing from their windows out onto the empty streets below. Evidence can easily be found on sites like YouTube by simply searching “singing in Italy during lockdown”.

Reports of this phenomenon speak of large numbers joining together in songs from their various apartment windows. Some of the songs are traditional Italian favorites; others are more contemporary. One neighborhood saw people on several different balconies singing “The Macarena”, a popular Spanish tune.

Is such spontaneous singing a symptom of COVID-19? No, it’s a response to times of stress and fear. It’s a way to push back and to declare that this virus will not determine their moods. Singing is a positive expression of hope and joy. (It’s also infectious!)

There are times when people don’t feel like singing. In Psalm 137 we read about the people of Judah who had just arrived in exile in Babylon. “How shall we sing the Lord’s song in a foreign land?” they asked (Psalm 137:4). Instead, “On the willows there we hung up our lyres” (Psalm 137:2). They were in no mood to make music.

Yet even before His people were carried away into exile God prophesied that they would have reasons to have hope and joy: “You shall have a song in the night when a holy feast is kept, and gladness of heart, as when one sets out to the sound of a flute to go to the mountain of the Lord, to the Rock of Israel” (Isaiah 30:29). If they looked for reasons to rejoice, even in Babylon, they would be able to find them.

That’s the challenge we face in times of stress. Can we find reasons to sing? Paul said “Yes!” “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God” (Colossians 3:16).

The source of our joy will come from “the word of Christ”, i.e. the Gospel. To know that God is willing to love us, forgive us, save us, lead us – these should make anyone sing!

Maybe we should imitate the Italians by throwing open our windows and singing to the bystanding world about the joy God gives “in whatever situation” (Philippians 4:11).

Come to the light God offers! Study His word, the Bible. Worship Him in spirit and truth (John 4:24). Get in touch with us if you’d like to discuss these ideas further.


Copyright, 2020, Timothy D. Hall. All scripture quotations, unless otherwise noted, are from the New King James Version (Copyright, 1990, Thomas Nelson, Inc.).

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