I was pleased to see the release of a Plenary Council song today. It is appropriate to use the creative resource of music to reach out with an important message at this time. The Plenary Council is in preparation in Australia, and is an opportunity for the Catholic Church to be renewed. Moreover, it is an opportunity for the Church to become more synodal, more listening. So I was heartened to see that music is being used as a means of calling people together, and of encouraging those in the Church to listen first. In the use of the line “It is time…” I can’t help but hear Ecclesiastes 3 “There is a time for everything…” and the time for listening is now. The use of the voice over, emphasising that we are called in ways we didn’t see coming is stressing the need for openness in the process of the Plenary Council. It is time to hear each other anew in the hope of renewal, guided by the Spirit.
Not only is the message of the words of the song – listen – important in the context of bringing together diverse, strongly-held views, but the music itself also speaks. The music has inclusive cultural references – the didgeridoo and the bagpipes – acknowledging in a small gesture something of the diverse cultural backgrounds of those that make up the Church. The first use of falsetto in the chorus for the line ‘”let’s listen to what the Spirit is saying” (Rev 2:7) highlights its significance. I always feel the falsetto technique to be more intimate a way of singing too, but perhaps that’s just a personal association. Either way, the chorus calls us to be in relation in a particular way: in peace and with hearts on fire with love.
The song calls for a Church that looks like Jesus, and a Church that brings joy. At this time, it might be difficult for some to see the Church in this way, and is a call to action for the Church as the Body of Christ. This well-written song expresses hope for the future of the Church in Australia, through the 2020 Plenary Council and beyond.