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Sunday, August 26, 2012

MUSIC, THE TIMELESS LANGUAGE

I adore the TV show So You Think You Can Dance. At times boring, there are those heart-stopping moments of emotion and beauty. And this show, unlike Dancing with the Stars, highlights many different kinds of dance, from Bollywood to Russian folk dance, from classical ballet to hip hop. At its best, the dancers touch on universal themes that people from every walk of life can connect with.

All of the "arts"--music, dance, visual art, writing, acting, and others--do that. I have noted that anew since I've been here. Residents who don't speak, or move, or do much beyond eat and sleep, will sit up, clap, sing, participate in music.

Last night, one feisty octogenarian sang along with every hymn her son played. As he played "The Old Rugged Cross," she buried her head in her arms on the table, softly crying. For a world of lost sinners was slain.  I felt her heartbeat. That's me, Lord! You died for me! I went over there and put my arms her.

When people meet me as "author" first, they are often surprised to discover I'm also a musician. I tell them I was a musician long before I was a writer; I started playing piano when I was nine. Although my gnarled, arthritic fingers don't play well any more, people still seem to enjoy it. This morning, now that I have a hymnal, I played and sang for about 45 minutes. It was a private time between me and God, although I hoped it might minister to others who were in the room.

I played a single hymn, and the applause began. People called out occasionally, praising and/or thanking me. As I was tiring, one of the younger residents (even younger than me), joined me. He loves music (he seems to know the words to every song the performers sing), but this touched him anew. Tears in his voice, he talked about hearing these songs at his grandmother's church.

Later an aide told me that another resident, who never talks, was singing along.

Among the hymns I sang, I found an old favorite: Spirit of God, Descend Upon my Heart. The third verse left me in tears: Teach me to feel that Thou art always nigh;
Teach me the struggles of the soul to bear.
To check the rising doubt, the rebel sigh,
Teach me the patience of unanswered prayer.
Those words didn't mean so much when I thought I was too "spiritual" to feel rising doubt or a rebel sigh. Now I've lived long enough to experience those "struggles of the soul," and the knowledge that God is always nigh is what sees me through.

Please pray with me as I play and sing for myself, my God . . .and the people around me.

P.S. Last week's winners were Keli Gwyn (Postmark: Christmas, which arrived this week) and Dana Wilkerson Spille (A Bride's Rogue). This week, for every 5 comments received, I will give away a copy of Postmark: Christmas. Please leave contact information with your comment so I can get in contact with you if you win.

Please answer this question for a chance to win: Talk about your favorite hymn or a time that music touched you in a deep way.

13 comments:

Page After Page--A place to connect said...

Almost any time I hear the songs "Find us Faithful" and "We Believe" - usually performed by Steve Green, my favorite contemporary Christian artist - I just have to stand still and listen. I often mouth the words, and even sing along (though hugely off-key). I enjoy music a lot; it's helped me get through some tough times.

Page After Page--A place to connect said...

I started listening to music early on, because both of my parents have musical talent. I love piano music - my mom plays the piano - but I also enjoy brass - my dad is a trombonist. Steve Green is my favorite Christian artists, and his performances of 'We Believe' and 'Find us Faithful" are my favortes.

Page After Page--A place to connect said...

Oops. I'm so very sorry! I forgot to give you my "contact info."!! Just email me; Kendra.

Dana Wilkerson Spille said...

My favorite hymn has to be "How Great Thou Art " no matter what I may go through ,no matter what I may face in this life I know that my Heavenly Father is still in control of my life and He will never never never ever leave me or forsake me He is right here with me where ever I go making sure I have the Victory He promise in Christ complete work at the Cross ,Grave ,when He rose and now sit down at the right hand of God God made me sit down in Him .The Creator of the Universe loves me with the same love that He loves Jesus with .Knowing that tells me God is Great in His love ,mercy and grace toward me . Blessing to you

PattyLG said...

My favorite hymn is "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing". It has comforted me through some hard times. I really love the phrase' . . . prone to wander, Lord, I feel it. Prone to leave the God I love. Here's my heart, O, take and seal it - seal it for They courts above." That is my prayer. Thanks for your wonderful stories . . . I am thoroughly enjoying the "Morgan Family"! God Bless you!
Pat Gorman
Harker Heights, TX
plg25@hot.rr.com

Robin Patchen said...

I was raised in a charismatic church,and we didn't sing any traditional hymns. I was so lost in college, I still marvel that God found me (as if He'd ever lost me.) I had a friend back then who invited me to church. There, we sang all four verses of Amazing Grace, and those words penetrated my hardened heart and touched me. There was a printout of the words, and I brought it home with me and memorized it. Though it would be years before my heart was fertile enough to hear and savor the Truth, I feel the words of that song, which are still hidden in my heart, had more than a little to do with my eventual salvation.

Darlene Franklin said...

Patty, Come Thou Fount is one of my very favorite hymns as well. (I sang that one as well this morning). And Robin, what a precious testimony!

Digging for Pearls said...

My favorite hymn is The Solid Rock. It was the theme song many years ago for the women's ministry while we were stationed in Germany. I was away at a retreat when it was announced that most of our husbands would be leaving to participate in Desert Storm. That was the song that was played. Great words that provided comfort in an unknown future.

Blessings,
Jodie Wolfe
digging4pearls(at)comcast(dot)net

Ginger said...

"In the Garden" has been my favorite hymn for a VERY long time.

A time when music touched me in deep way: I was having a mommy-meltdown-moment. If you have kids, you know what I'm talking about. I got them settled into a task (I don't recall what right now) and I retreated to my room to cry out to God. I played the song "Holy" by Nichole Nordeman. God met me in my room, on the floor as I cried. I physically felt his arms around me, encouraging me.

Even now, over 10 years later, I remember and it makes tears come to my eyes because it was exactly what I needed.

Darlene Franklin said...

Jodie, Ginger, thank you SO much for sharing your testimonies. People say we associate smells with memories. For me, more often it's music.

Ginger, I need your email address or FB page or something to contact you if you win . . .

Jes said...

It's so hard for me to pick just one hymn as my favorite! In Christ Alone is right up there - it was one of the hymns my husband and I chose to sing at our wedding. My parents are not saved, but my mother attends church sometimes and lets me know when it is sung in church that she cries as she loves it - I'm hoping for the words and not just the memories. :)

Jes
jswaks at gmail dot com

Darlene Franklin said...

Jes, praying with you for your parents' salvation. Music will touch people closed to preaching.

Jes said...

Thanks Darlene!

Jes