April 27, 2022
By Melissa Hinz
Midweek Musings is a weekly Covenant blog with a variety of authors and a variety of topics.
Music speaks deeply to our hearts, to our souls. It gives expression to our greatest joys as well as our deepest sorrows. Whether music includes lyrics or not, it speaks to our inmost selves, offering a space to rest and be still, allowing the release of emotions that we have been holding in, or inspiring us to move and groove with excitement and happiness.
This last week, Covenant had a gathering with folks who live at Oakwood West. We came together to share some time of fellowship and some ice cream.
I brought along an activity that we did together. It was a quiz, of sorts. Each question provided the start of a line from a hymn, and the listener had to finish the line. The participants also had the words written down to use. It looked something like this:
“Holy, holy, holy! Lord God Almighty! Early in the morning, ____________________”
As we went through this activity, I found that many were listening rather than reading, and displaying that ‘thinking’ posture where one looks up almost as if trying to look into their mind’s eye. The texts were all chosen because they would be more familiar to this Covenant crowd, though there were a couple that were more difficult. Try this one…
“Just as I am without one plea, but _____________________”
We found that when it was more difficult to complete a line with just the spoken text, it became easier when adding the music and singing the song together. Music gave life to the words, and music allowed the words to flow freely, with clear and true intention and meaning.
There is much to gain on our faith journeys from the music that we listen to and the music we share together. Music has always been an integral part of faith traditions, and this is certainly true at Covenant and in the Presbyterian Church. Music in worship is not a performance, but an offering. It is a way that we can let go of our inward focus, and open ourselves in praise and prayer. The songs we sing give voice to our inmost thoughts and desires, our fears and our celebrations, but ultimately, they are not about us.
The music we share in worship brings us out of ourselves and into God’s presence in the midst of a community. It reminds us of the need for justice and peace, for acceptance and forgiveness, for praise and thanksgiving. It calls us to be a reflection of God’s love and light here on earth.
From the deep darkness of Good Friday, to the resurrection celebration on Easter morning, music draws into God’s presence. What a gift we have in music, and what a gift that we can share it together. May you be blessed by some music today!
My life flows on in endless song above earth’s lamentation.
I hear the clear though far-off hymn that hails a new creation.
No storm can shake my inmost calm while to that rock I’m clinging.
Since Christ is Lord of heaven and earth, how can I keep from singing?
(text and music: Robert Lowry, 1869)