Where words fail, music speaks. – Hans Christian Andersen
Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent. – Victor Hugo
O come, let us sing for joy to the LORD, Let us shout joyfully to the rock of our salvation.
– Psalm 95:1 (NASB)
What music do you like? Pop, R&B, Classical, Blue Grass, Jazz, and many other mentions of types and genres of this thing we know of as music evoke memories, reactions, and emotional responses – and for good reasons. (My guess is there’s nothing you don’t already know here, and if you want the short version, feel free to skip to the end.) I think it might boil down to the representative spirit that accompanies such accompaniment of tunes.
Culture is one of the biggest influences, as I see it – if not THE biggest. From infancy to adulthood, we experience the environs and surroundings of familial, and perhaps regional, sounds from folk and tradition (and other similar things). Culture is a multi-faceted thing itself and blends in and through the elements below. A measure or two from a particular instrument might take you on a journey representative of some far off place. If you heard a zither, of what would you think? If I were to mention bagpipes, where or what might come to mind? The migration of people and the expansion of internet capabilities have led to cultural influences, including music, to cross tangible and intangible barriers and be more freely shared. Different cultures meet, clash, mix, and maybe blend. And you also get cultures within cultures. Some examples might be the British invasion (musically), Christian reggae, and country rock.
Perhaps the message in the music could be called the driving
force for the cultural influence, though I wonder if vice versa might be truer.
It’s not just a sharing of a note,
chord, or tune, but something more I think – especially for the listener’s
benefit. If you think of a decade or era
of human history, there’s likely to be specific sounds or tunes that epitomize
that timeframe and perhaps specific events.
If you hear mention of the ‘70s or ‘60s, what comes to mind? If I were to say Big Band or Louis Armstrong,
where or when would that take your mind?
Some tunes represent those times, but they do because of the happenings
in those times and what the artists wanted to convey and express. Live easy, enjoy
life, make love not war, etc.
Emotions are near with listening to musical pieces and
usually associated with both culture and message. In reading the lyrics, “We didn’t start the
fire, It was always burning…”, could you have continued to the next line or did
you hear the tune? There’s reason to aid
memorization by putting a tune to it; it helps the recall of that fact. Have you felt anything when hearing Andrea
Bocelli singing “Time to Say Goodbye”? Have
you ever watched a silent movie? You
need that piano to help make it interesting and move along the story. There is a score or soundtrack for a reason;
it helps evoke and bring to mind emotions the movie makers intend. A romantic scene would probably be boring
without some stirring strings.
Motivation beyond just emotional, cultural, and spiritual is
another facet. I mention this because I
also work out to music. So it seems that
however the artist may have been motivated for the song, the music still helps
motivate me on. To extrapolate as the
listener, music does tend to be an impetus for an outcome, and in that sense
motivates those who listen. The cavalry
charges after the bugle blown. Revelry
and taps accompany the flag flown. Some
songs call for introspection, to be awed by beauty, or some other silent
action. Others are more stirring.
There is a spiritual-ness I think to music that can help tie
message with culture, message with emotion, and such. Sure, there is the term Spirituals in
reference to songs categorized as worship songs with religion. I mean it in this case in a general sense,
not tied to one religion or another. But
there is no doubt that religions around the world use songs as a form of worship. In fact, if you look at the Bible, it talks
about using songs as a form or expression of worship and not confining worship
to only songs. I think if one were to
ponder on the effect of a song (any song), there would be more found than just
the mechanics and previously mentioned aspects.
I mentioned a representative spirit in relation to music, which seemingly brings it all together. I mean that to describe our tie and reason to why we enjoy music. Each, or a combination, of the aspects mentioned above are our reasons for what’s on our playlist. Each song resonates and ties to a profound element that we find within ourselves. We’ve identified with some spirit of that song, whether it was the musicality of the tune or message or emotion or culture reference, etc. Memories come easily when associated tunes catch our ear. It does seem to be part of the soundtrack compilation of one’s life, a soundtrack that is ever changing.
Since music can speak to us deeply, shouldn’t we then be mindful about what type of music or content we’re enjoying? What music encourages you or you find uplifting?
Had “Don’t Stop Believin’ ” by Journey stuck in my head; hope you don’t mind I chose to include a link for it. 🙂
Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton
I Felt Challenged upon listening this morning to a sermon by Alistair Begg on Forgiveness (7 May 2019, “Forgiven and Forgiving” Part 3 of 3;https://www.truthforlife.org ).
This is an aspect of Christian living that is vital, necessary, and not easy. It is really at the core of things. In light of Pastor Begg’s look at the Lord’s Prayer and his sermons breaking down the phrases Christ uses, I find it pressing on me to examine my heart and thoughts for what might still be slights or offenses that I need to fully or completely forgive. I rather appreciate Pastor Begg’s look and what it means to forgive:
(Excerpt from the sermon:
And it is essentially a threefold promise, because when we express forgiveness to another person, this is what we should be saying: “I forgive you. And therefore, I will not bring the matter up to you again. Secondly, I will not bring the matter up to someone else. Thirdly, I will not bring the matter up to myself.”
I’ve started to pray-fully think and review the things that come to mind when I ask myself, “Who or what do I still need to forgive?” and I intend to take these things to God. While upon examining these things, I know or realize that the better approach isn’t to take it to the person but to God since it’s been so long or could make things more complicated or worse. My initial thoughts when I go to my mind and start to look at my heart is a bit like, “I’m good; there’s nothing I need to forgive,” but that doesn’t seem wholly true. Oh, I guess I suppressed or didn’t fully address this or that. In fact, a couple things easily came to mind as I was listening to the sermon. Turns out I thought I’d already dealt with them, and I may have. Perhaps I didn’t address them to the fullest extent. Some of that may be God’s timing in dealing with a me that wasn’t completely ready. No, I’m not going to list those past things here. I intend to list them elsewhere and then pray over them. I want to take them to God and forgive those slights. Then I’ll strike them off the list and throw the list away – not quite as far as the East is from the West but in a trash bin far from me.
It is a choice, not dependent on feelings. Yes, I know I may not feel like wanting to forgive but I can still choose to forgive.
(Excerpt from sermon:
So we forgive in obedience to the command of God, we make the promise as God has made, and it is more than possible that eventually the feelings will follow.
There have been clearly defined faults by others in my life. There have been things of my own making in a sense. Maybe then I need to forgive myself about those things that I’ve influenced? There are past relational complications. Bitterness and resentment have been allowed to grow, and there may need to be recognition of forgiving what I can and relinquishing the rest to God. What then might I do with these residue of feelings? Take them to God I suppose.
I know I’ve previously wanted to blame those who’ve hurt me and wanted them to recognize, recompense or deliver restitution. I’ve gotten angry, but come to fatigue myself and think it all wasted energy. What’s the point since harm’s been done? Is it going to do any good if I pursue what seems reasonable vengeance? Maybe they should at least know I hurt.
Is it so hard for the other party to see how much I’ve been hurt?! Though in looking at the cross, I feel so small and unqualified when I want to yell that to others.
Yes, there are consequences to what transpired. Forgiving doesn’t eliminate or make those consequences go away. And it seems I’m living with the hurt and wounding of some of those consequences. Can I then properly address and help heal those areas without getting pissed off or negating forgiveness? I know these things are best handled by God and His grace; yet, it’s still hard not to get my emotions so stirred up and potentially in the way. Are they going to scar much in the healing process?
I feel like it’s been slow, but the more manageable approach it seems to me is to address each in turn those rooted aspects, to weed them out with love and patience.
I need to be intentional about speaking God’s truth over and replacing where I’ve harbored, and internalized, lies about myself, others or situations. I am NOT alone! I have brothers and sisters in Christ. I have a wife. I am a loved person, a child of God. Truths that should be reiterated again and again, since years have passed to only reinforce lies.
I need to realize and wholly embrace all that God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit provide in a complete consummate relationship as a believer and fellow heir. I need Jesus! I depend, and should even more, upon Him daily. I need to look to God in all things and be sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s leading. I should start the day off with Him and be intentional throughout the rest of the day, every day.
I need to adopt better habitual mechanisms that could replace sinful, harmful ones that have become ingrained. Easier said than done, I know; new habits can take time. That’s why and where reminders and others can help, supporting me in going through. I need to choose to look at right or good things, instead of letting my mind wander. Let my guard be ready. I need to put on God’s armor daily and dwell in His word frequently.
I need reminders that emotions are acceptable, as well as communicating in a safe, right way and environment. At times I need to yell at paper! At times I need to cry on the carpet before God! I need and can confide in close friends! I need and should be open and honest with my wife!
It’s all about relationships. Praying intentionally the Lord’s Prayer allows me to examine my relationship with my Heavenly Father and my relationship with fellow people, especially those I love. Forgiveness is key.