I’m grateful beyond what I can adequately express for the gift of music. The melodies and harmonies included in all different genres have been an important part of little moments throughout my journey.
I’ve listened many times to pop music blasting over the blue tooth speaker while my younger two jump on the trampoline. “Because you can’t jump on a trampoline without a beat-drop, mom.”
I’ve heard thousands of junior high girls singing at the top of their lungs during a One Direction Concert, and two of them subsequently screeching – I’m mean singing – during the car ride home after the concert. I may or may not have needed five Advil during that particular musical experience.
And I’ve watched my husband sing in awe as U2 performed some of their greatest hits. (Um, “sing” just may need one… or ten… adverbs and similes. Perhaps “sing wildly” or “sing passionately” or sing like a man who suggested in his younger years that he bring “depends” with him to the concert so there will be no chance of losing his place in line. Perhaps that would be more grammatically fitting. Just perhaps).
Growing up, I remember my dad popping in the Phantom of the Opera CD on a regular basis during our car rides. He’d turn up the volume as loud as he could make it go, and we’d hold our ears in the back seat while the organ took over our car. I’m laughing remembering the falsetto during the women’s part and the sudden deep bass voice that would appear when the Phantom entered into the music.
We basically had a one-man theatre performance in our car fairly regularly. It was awesome. And then it was embarrassing when we hit about thirteen. But the falsetto was mostly just awesome.
My oldest has the same love for musical theatre, and despite her brothers woes and subsequent arguments that theatre music is not music, which, incidentally, he defines as anything that allows you to “feel the bass,” she turns it on regularly, teaching all of us to appreciate old and new musicals alike.
And in more significant moments in life, the presence of music will be etched into my memory forever. During my mom’s illness, we played the old hymns on repeat because they brought calm to her heart when she seemed anxious. And I listened intently to harpist and singer Amy Shreve, as the Biblical truths in her songs rang out beyond the subdued volume in the room where my dad spent his last minutes on earth.
Whether you’re a musician, or a just a dad in a car who likes to sing Phantom of the Opera, there’s no denying that music is a significant part of life. And it’s interesting to me how it can affect us so deeply, but then I’m reminded through Scripture that we’re made in the image of God, and if that’s true, then it’s only natural that we’re drawn to music. Zephaniah 3:17 says:
The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save;
he will rejoice over you with gladness;
he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.
The Lord Himself sings. I wonder what it’s like when God sings? I remember the first time I heard the Hallelujah Chorus at the Symphony. I was overcome by the magnificence of the music, and I couldn’t help but tear up from the beauty of the sound that encompassed me.
Is that what His singing is like?
I don’t know, but I can’t wait to hear it one day. But until the time comes when I will actually hear the sound of God’s voices singing over me (what a humbling thought), I will continue to sing and make music because that’s what he created us to do. It doesn’t have to be done perfectly – or even eloquently – in fact, the Bible tells us that even the mountains and the hills will break into song and the trees will clap their hands. Mountains weren’t created to make music, and yet when Christ returns, breaking out in song will be the natural thing to do…even for creation.
Music often makes me reflect on the Now–But Not Yet. In the now, in the today, I can enjoy the many different types of music that God has given us to enjoy. I can laugh because of it, cry through it, and rejoice greatly in it. He has gifted many vocalists and musicians to produce melodies and harmonies that have become treasures over a long period of time. In the now, I can participate musically in worship, asking the Lord to tune my heart to sing thy grace. And even my imperfect offering is a sweet fragrance to the Lord.
This is what happens with music in the “Now.” But it should also be a reminder of what’s to come.
During this last Christmas season, I was drawn to an arrangement of the Magnificat called, “He Who is Mighty.” I had memorized Mary’s song years ago, and have heard it many times since, but when I heard it in a new way through this song, my heart swelled and I was overwhelmed with gratitude for what God had done in coming to earth and taking on the form of humanity while dwelling amongst us. I parked the car while the song played, and for a few short minutes I gave thanks by singing about all God had done and all He faithfully continues to do.
He Who is mighty has done a great thing
Taken on flesh, conquered death’s sting
Shattered the darkness and lifted our shame
Holy is His name
Now my soul magnifies the Lord
I rejoice in the God Who saves
I will trust His unfailing love
I will sing His praises all my days
Allow music to point you toward the “Not Yet,” to all that is to come; embrace worship and long for the day when we will perfectly sing praises to the One who has saved us. And allow songs of all different kind to help you imagine what it will be like when our voices will be one with creation as we sing to the Almighty.
What a magnificent musical experience that will be.
But until that day, I will enjoy and embrace the gift we’ve been given in music. I’ll appreciate the way it can change a bad mood and lift my spirit, I’ll enjoy feeling the bass with my son, rapping to Hamilton with my daughter, reminiscing with Phantom of the Opera in my car, relishing in the experience of a U2 concert with my husband (minus the depends), and I’ll continue singing out to everything in between.