“Praise the Lord. Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heavens. Praise him for his acts of power; praise him for his surpassing greatness. Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet, praise him with the harp and lyre, praise him with tambourine and dancing, praise him with the strings and flute, praise him with the clash of cymbals, praise him with resounding cymbals. Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. Praise the Lord.” Psalm 150
There are many hard things about this season of Covid-19 but one of the hardest for me is not having live music at our Sunday church services. We are being careful to follow the CDC guidelines as we do not want anyone to get sick as we gather each week in worship. One of those guidelines is: no singing. So, we are not singing in church and it is hard. I love music. I love singing. Both have been a big part of my life from singing in my church youth choir to my high school choir to being raised by parents who loved music.
Growing up I listened to all kinds of music from the sounds of the big bands of the 1930’s and 40’s to Rock and Roll and everything in between. There are very few forms of music I don’t like. It is not unusual to hear classical, jazz, blues, folk, rock and roll, hard rock, southern rock, country, zydeco…well, I think you get the idea. I love most forms of music.
I personally think it is important to our overall well-being. It can lift our spirits. It can help us grieve our losses. It can remind us of better days. For each of us, certain songs will forever be associated with special celebrations. Music gives voice to our souls as we sing “songs in the key of life.” (And yes, that is a title of a Stevie Wonder album.)
Music can be found in more than just the instruments we play or the songs we sing. Nature sings its songs to God on a daily basis. I enjoy taking my walk each morning and as I walk, I listen to the many birds around me. The hawk and osprey, the raucous crows fighting over French fries spilled on the pavement and the low cooing of the mourning doves, the occasional crow of a rooster in the distance, and many others. I hear the voice of the wind on the breeze, and I hear the many manmade songs too. Songs found in the long low whistle of a train, the rumble of a car engine, or the whine of a motorcycle. I listen to all the music of the streets as they make Beautiful Noise (a title of a Neil Diamond album) and before I know it my walk is over as the music of the world waking up around me carries my feet back home.
One thing I am doing for myself is to listen to the music of the 1960’s. It takes me back to a time of the Beach Boys, The Mama’s and the Papa’s, The Beatles, Elvis, Steppenwolf, Del Shannon, The Doors, Dion, The Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, The Monkees, and so many more wonderful artists who have given the world a lot of great music. In my drive to work they are my companions as I sing along to songs like Hair, California Dreaming, Little Deuce Coupe, Blowin’ in the Wind, and others. And for a moment, I am not in the midst of Covid-19. Music has been my escape for a world filled with chaos, discord, and dissent.
And the thing is: Music is all around us. All we need are ears to hear what is right there. So, whether you are listening to the music of a newborn baby crying, the laughter of children playing, street noises, nature, or even the sound of silence (Simon and Garfunkel) There is music to be found in these discordant days. Whatever your preference in music, I hope you are listening. I hope, like me, it carries you through all you are experiencing in life in this hard season. And it is through music that many of us are brought closer to God our creator who loves us so much God created us in God’s own image. Let us then join our song with the Psalmist who wrote: Let everything that has breath praise the Lord! Praise the Lord!