I have always found my rest, my solace in music. I remember the first time my parents took me to see and experience a symphony orchestra. My feet didn’t touch the ground, I moved to the edge of my seat and I was lost.
Growing up, there were many days when I couldn’t express my feelings, but music spoke on my behalf. I could weep in Beethoven’s Egmont Overture, I could run away in his ninth symphony. I could rejoice and declare God’s beautiful creation, singing Faust’s The heavens are telling the glory of God with my choir friends. Music connected me to God, and I experienced Him in a tangible and real way.
Music helps us to enter into worship and recognise the majesty and power of God (Forrest Beiser)
I grew up in a traditional church, where I learned to praise God singing Psalms, but never really established a connection with the living God. It was the Spirituals and Hymns that pulled me into the arms of my loving Father. It was my dad singing gospel songs with Elvis in the car, my grandfather whistling Onwards Christian Soldiers that birthed a longing in my soul.
When I went through a difficult divorce in 2000, I spent Thursday evenings in my garden, listening to my Charismatic neighbours singing, clapping hands and rejoicing in the Lord. It was a heart wrenching decision to resign from my church and to join the happy clappies. I remember the fear and apprehension, sitting right at the back of this huge church, people lifting their hands, moving to the rhythm of the music and playing drums as if it was a rock concert.
the shedding of tears
I was so broken and alone, but I vividly remember the very first time that I lifted my hands, tears streaming down my face. I could pour my heart out to God…
When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,
It is well, it is well with my soul.
It is well with my soul,
It is well, it is well with my soul.
Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ hath regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.
My sin—oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!—
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!
For me, be it Christ, be it Christ hence to live:
If Jordan above me shall roll,
No pang shall be mine, for in death as in life
Thou wilt whisper Thy peace to my soul.
But, Lord, ’tis for Thee, for Thy coming we wait,
The sky, not the grave, is our goal;
Oh, trump of the angel! Oh, voice of the Lord!
Blessed hope, blessed rest of my soul!
And Lord, haste the day when the faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
Even so, it is well with my soul.
(Horatio G. Spafford)
I have the great privilege to study theology now, and God is opening my eyes to see beyond my limited view.
Music is the handmaiden of theology.
Next to theology I give music the highest place and honor. Music is the art of the prophets, the only art that can calm the agitations of the soul; it is one of the most magnificent and delightful presents God has given us. (Martin Luther)
Studying the scriptures, looking at prophecies and experiencing worship makes me wonder if I can ever comprehend what He had in mind for us.
2 Chronicles 5:12-14
All the Levites who were musicians…stood at the east side of the altar, dressed in fine linen and playing cymbals, harps and lyres. They were accompanied by 120 priests sounding trumpets. The trumpeters and musicians joined in unison to give praise and thanks to the Lord. Accompanied by trumpets, cymbals and other instruments, the singers raised their voices in praise to the LORD and sang:
“He is good; His love endures forever.”
Then the temple of the LORD was filled with the cloud, and the priests could not perform their service because of the cloud, for the glory of the LORD filled the temple of God.
The heavens declare the glory of God;
The skies proclaim the work of His hands.
In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord, high and exhalted, seated on a throne; and the train of his robe filled the temple.
When I read Revelations 4, and what we can expect to see, I feel a deep excitement, an indescribable joy.
Somewhere in my secret space, I know that I might sit right at the back, completely silent, trying to comprehend the concept…
The Almighty God offered His Son, so that I might have life…and life in abundance!