Friday, April 13, 2012

The Extraordinary Gift that is Music

"[Music] gives me the feeling of love… I figure right now the world needs to come into music, singing… you've got beautiful music here. I feel a band of love, of dreams."

I have always said that music can move a person like nothing else. It bypasses defenses, and barriers that mere words cannot penetrate.

We've seen this evidence in the internet station I program, ElijahStreams, which is dedicated to an eclectic mix of heartfelt, contemporary worship. While most of the songs played are in English, some are in other languages such as French, Swahili, Polynesian, Native American, or Hebrew.

ElijahStreams' statistics show large numbers of listeners not just in the US and Canada, but also in countries with a main language other than English—even countries that are mostly non-Christian. Worship music for the Lord is effectively moving past borders and cultural barriers to people's hearts. It's exciting!

What an amazing gift from the Lord is music.

He's given His children the creative ability to take notes, sounds and rhythms; putting them together in such a way as to evoke emotions from the player and the hearer.

For this reason, I know music can be a powerful tool for healing emotions and inner wounds as well.

Henry - what music does for him Consider a video that is rapidly going viral at the moment. It shows an elderly man named "Henry" in a nursing home who sits head-on-chin in his wheelchair day after day, mostly unresponsive. However, when a nurse puts headphones connected to an iPod on him and plays his favorite music from his own era, he immediately opens his eyes wide, raises his head and begins to hum and sing along to the music. Even after they take his headphones off, he communicates lucidly and candidly, especially as he begins to answer questions about the music he loves. So moving! (Watch the video by clicking here)

When asked what music does to him, the elderly gentleman replies emphatically, "It gives me the feeling of love… I figure right now the world needs to come into music, singing… you've got beautiful music here. I feel a band of love, of dreams. The Lord came to me and made me holy, I'm a holy man, so He gave me these sounds…"

Henry van Dyke (born in 1852) was a clergyman, English professor, author and poet—he wrote the lyrics to accompany Beethoven's "Ode to Joy," better known as "Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee."

Henry also wrote a stirring poem about music that beautifully portrays the effect that even a simple melody can have on a person. Below is an excerpt from "Music."

Thou art the Angel of the pool that sleeps,
While peace and joy lie hidden in its deeps,
Waiting thy touch to make the waters roll
In healing murmurs round the weary soul.
Ah, when wilt thou draw near,
Thou messenger of mercy robed in song?
My lonely heart has listened for thee long;
And now I seem to hear
Across the crowded market-place of life,
Thy measured foot-fall, ringing light and clear
Above the unmeaning noises and the unruly strife;
In quiet cadence, sweet and slow,
Serenely pacing to and fro,
Thy far-off steps are magical and dear.
Ah, turn this way, come close and speak to me!
From this dull bed of languor set my spirit free,
And bid me rise, and let me walk awhile with thee.

(Excerpt from the poem "Music" by Henry Van Dyke)

Without detailing all the powerful ways music has been used in the Bible—in praise and worship, at the front lines of the battle, as effective salve for a tormented soul, as a necessary background for a prophetic word—suffice to say, it is a precious gift from God.

Now soothing music is being increasingly used as an effective treatment for many emotional, neurological, developmental and other disorders and ailments.

We are so blessed to have music to make, listen to and give back to the One who created it for us to discover!

I just don't want to take it for granted. So, thank You Lord, for music. ...And for a beautiful way to communicate to You and to others what we are feeling deep inside.

Watch the aforementioned YouTube video by CLICKING HERE.

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