My soul has been surrounded by music the last several weeks while on a break from real life. We attended a wedding with a reception that was music and fun filled, celebrating a young love and strong family ties. The new husband and wife slowly moving across the floor, eyes and smiles only for each other as a love song serenaded the start of their new life journey. A great nephew danced with his aunt to an Elvis tune, both of them caught in the sheer joy of the music and each other. A brother requested a song for his sister who had recently lost her husband of decades and then danced her through another step of grief.
The cousin who hosted us has been the organist and pianist for her church since she was 14 years old, a nearly 50 year relationship. She also was the musician to many cousin sing alongs in my childhood. Listening to her practice on her baby grand and her still clear voice reaching the sky was balm for my weary body vessel. She teaches other little girls how to play the piano, encouraging them through the hard parts, cheering them through the stretch and correct placement of fingers on chords and giving them the gift of music making and praying.
Singing has always taken me to places that I didn’t know I wanted to go or could go. It transcends the words in my head and pulls straight from my heart. I can’t remember not singing. As a child, singing in church was always my favorite part. Even now, when I’m in a different church than Easter, I will peruse the hymnals and make notes of songs that reach out and pull me closer.
“Praise God from whom all blessings flow, praise him all creatures here below.” I stood in the Presbyterian church of my confirmation and sang these words by heart and from my heart, my hands on the same wooden pews I rested them on as a child. This song, above all others, has always filled me with a sure faith even when life events caused my child heart to question. With stained glass story windows surrounding me, I remembered the bell choir I had once white gloved played in, glorious clear notes rising to heaven with our praise to God and glee we hit the right notes in the right time.
Colossians 3:16 “Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.”In a VFW hall in a small town, the room is packed with hundreds of people for a benefit for my nephew who refuses to quit in an epic battle with cancer. Music backdrops the community outpouring of love and hope. Elementary aged grandsons tearfully testify to the goodness of his grandpa and pray for healing. All of this for a man who unendingly serves his community, boldly loves his family and loudly praises God. When he asked the room, abounding with love, to stop and listen to the song, “My Wish“, we listened as a communal prayer beaming from each heart, the unity of the words and music seeking the ears of heaven.
“Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so.”
The words are nestled in the brain and soul of any person who was a child in Sunday school. From our youngest days, we prayed and praised through song. A song is a thoughtful pause of prayer, a lilting cadence to accentuate our heartfelt desires and praise.
Today, pray twice. Sing. Loudly. Boldly. Badly. Pitch perfect. Tearfully. With joy. Alone. With others.
What song do you sing that pulls you closer to God?