Here’s a story that didn’t make it into the bible. I’m sure it must have made the short-list, though.
When Noah was loading the animals onto the ark, he made sure he took as many as the ark would hold, and then some. That meant that there was very little space for any personal possessions. But, however tightly you pack a space, there’s always room for a ukulele and Noah found he could take two.
Noah and Mrs. Noah used to play their ukuleles on the stormy evenings afloat in order to calm down the animals and cheer them up.
That means that all musical instruments on the earth today are descended from that pair of ukuleles, and it explains why nothing cheers the heart like a song on a uke.
It was my first ever pet service today. We did the story of Noah’s Ark. It’s tough, because this is a service aimed at little kids and Noah’s Ark is such a dark story that I’m not sure it’s suitable for children. Anyway, I kept it at the level of a nice man who saved animals in a big boat, and we were OK.
It was a small start, really. Two dogs, one cat and a rabbit. We did have lots of soft toys, though, so there were lots of animals we love in church this morning. I brought along my new pet – a brown unicorn (very rare) …
Turns out it was Mickey the Monkey in a horse mask with a paper cone stuck on – how disappointing. He was making a protest about the situation of his friends, the orang-utans in Indonesia, whose home is being lost, not to flood, but to de-forestation for palm oil plantations. Seems like the world is still full of corruption and violence, just like in the days of Noah. It’s hard for us to change, though, as we like all the stuff we have and worry that if we don’t have as much as we possibly can, we might not survive. Could we manage without cheap oil from oil palms, even if it means the extinction of the orang-utans? Apparently not – palm oil is in a lot of food and cosmetics, and is increasingly used in bio-fuel. My point this morning was that Jesus (whom his friend Peter said saves us like the Ark saved Noah and co.) makes it possible to change, by showing us that God loves us and that we can trust God rather than stuff. Our animals also teach us about love and trust, and together we can do a better job of caring for the world. A simple point, I know, but we were a congregation of simple folks, especially the rabbit.
We sang “Rise and shine and give God the glory glory”, accompanied on the ukulele. I’ve heard that, as space was tight on the Ark (as on most ships), Noah and Mrs. Noah only had room for a ukulele each, which they played at night to help the animals sleep. Therefore all stringed instruments today are descended from those two ukuleles. If that story isn’t true, it ought to be.
I bought my little ukulele about two years ago, with some money left to me by my late father-in-law. If I’d known how much pleasure it would bring me, I’d have bought one years ago. I don’t know what it is about a ukulele that makes you feel good, but it works.
I have enjoyed listening to some ukulele music, not least The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain. Their performances are sheer fun.
On the technical side, I like the way that you can completely change a chord by just moving one finger. Little things please little minds, I guess. It’s a four-string thing – doesn’t work on a guitar in the same way.
But, more than anything, it’s just fun to sit and strum or pluck. So, to really give you something to laugh at, here’s a video of me playing Joe Brown’s classic “I’ll see you in my dreams”.