Singing of God and Science
This is a guest blog post from Trevor Thorn. Trevor is a Licenced Lay Minister in Ely Diocese, and in 2018 he was made a Visiting Scholar at St John’s College, Durham to develop a faith and science hymn, song and poetry collection.
I have heard a statistic that by age 11 many children have made up their minds that faith and science are incompatible, and that it is science that holds the answers to life’s most important questions. If this is true, there is a challenge to us Christians to do what we can to counter this myth, including celebrating science through song.
As a writer of faith and science worship music and poetry, I want to encourage readers who would like to incorporate science into their own personal or collective worship to give it a go.
Stars and planets sing your glory
God of might and God of Love;
time and space proclaim your story
written in the realms above.
All the beauty of the cosmos,
summoned by your great command
gathered shape; while out of nothing
matter formed, as you had planned.
Extract from ‘Stars and Planets Sing Your Glory’
I am the author of ‘Sing of God and Science’, a collection of 40 songs written for children aged between 5 and 11. The collection started life as a Scientists for Congregations project in 2017 and developed during my time as a Visiting Scholar at St John’s College in Durham in 2018.
I have also written hymns for congregations that use well-known folk tunes and nursery rhymes, so that people singing can concentrate on the meaning of the words rather than figuring out the tune. In each of the hymns, songs and poems I have tried to illustrate ways in which faith and science together reveal the wonders of God’s magnificent creation. Many people of faith base their theological understandings on the sacred music they hear and sing, so it was important to develop resources with several groups in mind. Here are several examples from my website, but I also encourage you to try writing your own!
For congregational singing
Stars and Planets sing your Glory: Praise hymn to either Lux Eoi or Joyful, Joyful.
As Mighty Glaciers Recede: The interface between faith and science leads very naturally into consideration of the many sciences behind Climate Chaos. The following hymn focuses specifically on the implications of glaciology, developed with the help of Prof Chris Stokes of the Geography Dept in Durham.
Make Us Good Stewards, Lord: A good vehicles on which to challenge our thinking with regard to our responsibilities regarding climate issues.
For groups of scientists
For Amazement by Beauty: A hymn based on neurology celebrating our senses.
Beyond The Farthest Mortal Eye Can Scan – DNA: One of several hymns for specialist use. Others with the same opening and tune look at Brown Dwarfs, Exoplanets and the ocean at the centre of the earth.
I’m making friends with science: To understand God’s plan/ For this amazing universe/From when it first began (Sung to The Holly and The Ivy)
The Bible starts with awesome tale: Sung to ‘Tyrol’, three verses speak of a great ‘miracle’ – the present scientific view of the formation of Earth.
Fossils are Fantastic is a fun song which claims ‘God’s prehistoric story is an ancient truth to tell’. This includes a score and an audio clip to help learn the simple and catchy tune.