When I was younger, I loved music. Well, I still do. I feel it is one of life’s greatest pleasures. I got my love of music from both my parents. My mom would often sign along to the radio and my dad would make mix tapes from his records. When we went on road trips, he would quiz us on the artist and song title. They would be the greatest hits from the 60’s and 70’s. My one sister and I used to sing along to the Neil Diamond and Barbra Streisand duet “You Don’t Bring me Flowers“. Mel would always get to be Babs and I would always be Neil.
When I was in elementary school, our school put on a big operetta (i.e. musical) production every year. I tried out for it as soon as I was old enough. In high school, I was in the school choir for the first two years. The choir went to Europe when I was in Grade 10. Imagine 100 students, teachers, and chaperones wearing bright red nylon jackets walking the streets of Amsterdam and Paris.
I listen to all kinds of music. There are only a couple genres I do not listen to. I once heard that the style of music you listen to between the ages of 14-21 is the style you tend to listen to for the rest of your life. I don’t know if this is true but it makes sense. Those are the formative years when you are discovering who you are as an individual. For me it is true. Thanks to my parents, sisters and friends, I listened to a wide range of music at that point in my life, most of which I still listen to.
Music has formed so many memories in my life. Music is linked to so many of my memories. I can hear a song and it will make me think of a person, place or situation. I might think about old boyfriends, my parents, my family, some friends, my daughter.
There are too many songs to mention that remind me of my daughter and the times we have spent together. One that sticks out the most though is “Butterfly Fly Away” by Miley Cyrus. When I hear our wedding song come on the radio, I tease my husband about it because he always thinks it is a different song (BTW, Nick, it is “Some Kind of Wonderful” by Grand Funk Railroad). At Christmas, there are many songs that remind me of my mother and my childhood. When I hear “Greater” by MercyMe, I picture my friend Dom leading Sunday morning worship with his shakers. A few years ago, Reba McEntire released a gospel album. Her song from that album, “God and My Girlfriends“, makes me think of my Alpha Sisters.
There have been many times in my life when music lyrics have been more apt at describing my feeling than my own words. I have been through some tough times and music was there to help me. I have used music to celebrate some of the best times in my life.
I remember sitting in church a number of years ago. It was the first time in 15 years, after turning my back on God, that I went to church on my own. The music of an old familiar hymn started playing. The lyrics hit me straight into my soul. “…That saved a wreck like me; I was once lost but now am found…” By the end of the first verse, tears were streaming down my face. And I couldn’t stop them.
It was what I needed at that time of my life. God spoke to me in those lyrics. In those words, He was telling me He still loved me and was welcoming back with open arms. In that moment, I was the prodigal child.
I often hear God in songs. The Holy Spirit often moves in me through music. Just as I use music to connect with my feelings and those around me, God uses music to connect with me.
Throughout the Bible, singing and music are used to praise and worship God. They were also used for mourning.
Apparently there are 185 songs in the Bible. The Book of Psalms is basically a compilation of songs and poems. Three books later is the Song of Songs, aka Songs of Solomon. Lamentations has 5 dirges of mourning. Ezekiel has a number of songs of mourning as well.
Moses sings after the children of Israel cross the Red Sea. Deborah and Burak sing a victory song in Judges. David mourns in song over the death of Jonathan and Saul in II Samuel. Isaiah uses song to preach to and comfort the people of Israel. Though there is mention of singing in the New Testament, there are only a couple actual songs, which are found in Revelation.
It doesn’t matter if you sing, play an instrument or just enjoy listening (or all three), music is an exhilarating way to worship God. It is also a great way to connect with one another or with your own feelings when you just can’t put them into words yourself. Even instrumental music can convey emotions when they can’t be put into words.
Today, go listen to your favourite worship music or favourite artist. How do you feel when you listen to it? Share with me in the comment section below.