Sunday, February 1, 2009

Music to My Ears

The enjoyment of music is probably nearly universal, from newborn babies to the very elderly. Its existence is as old as mankind and some theologians would argue it even pre-dates that, having been part of the Heavenly realm before Creation.

So I am claiming no uniqueness when I state that I enjoy music very much. I greatly appreciate the old hymns of the faith and frequently turn the van radio to a local station that has an all-hymn play format. I could probably do an entire blog on hymns alone. The older I get, the more I appreciate the deep theology found in some of these songs. As a word-lover I enjoy the old English phrasing in many of them as well.

I do listen to some current Christian music, but, to be honest, I don't care for much of what currently makes it onto the contemporary Christian music charts. Every so often, a really great song is released, like "Everlasting" by Lincoln Brewster, "Held" by Natalie Grant, or "Praise You in the Storm" by Casting Crowns. I pretty much live in the past. Nothing can get me dancing around the kitchen faster than the Glenn Miller Orchestra playing "Chattanooga Choo-Choo", as well as a host of other big band performances. I like to croon along with Perry Como and Frank Sinatra. Elvis leaves me feeling "All Shook Up" and wanting someone to "Love Me Tender"! If I could find a radio station that played only 70s and 80s love songs I'd never change the channel. Who isn't moved by Kenny Rogers singing "She Believes in Me" or Chicago crooning, "If You Leave Me Now"? Or what about Stephen Bishop's "It Might Be You" or one of my all-time favorites "Nothing's Going to Stop Us Now" by Starship? It doesn't get better than that!

And you know, there's a few songs that just make me happy. I think of "Footloose" by Kenny Loggins and "Old Time Rock n Roll" by Bruce Springsteen. I know it's the beat, but when I hear those songs, I can feel the happiness just furling up out of my stomach. I have to turn the radio up louder and soon I'm wiggling in my seat. If I'm driving, my the speedometer will start to edge up!

I know some fellow Christians will find fault with me for admitting that I enjoy some secular music. If the Lord ever convicts me the same way, I'll have to make some changes, I know. And, to be honest, I have wondered if I am doing my children a disservice by having this stuff play around them. Even though my musical choices are fairly benign, might I be pointing them in a direction that would ultimately lead them to listening to bat-eating, guitar smashing heavy metal performers? Or worse yet, have them develop a liking for nasty rap music that promotes immorality and lawlessness? Knowing my kids, though, I doubt it. Whenever we get in the van and I punch on my "lite listening" station I am generally commanded by them to switch it to our local Christian radio station. They like current contemporary Christian music, even if I don't.

Some songs are portals to the past. To this day I love the song "Bop" by Dan Seals because it brings back a happy memory from my senior year of high school. The songs that were played at my wedding still make me misty eyed. I love Mark Lowry's ""Mary, Did You Know" because the first time I heard it was the Christmas season that Will was a newborn. I would sit rocking him, listening to the radio, and when this song was played it made me really think about Mary and for the first time, I could really empathize with her, as a fellow mother. Whenever I hear the theme music to Veggie Tales I immediately flash back to the days when Will, Ben, and David were just little guys and so excited by the antics of Bob and Larry.

And then there are some sounds that weren't music necessarily to my ears, but just to my heart. Ben's development was significantly delayed and he didn't speak for a long time. I remember looking at him and just wishing so often that he could talk to me. I'll never forget the first time he wrapped his skinny little arms around my neck and said, "Wub U, Ma." The times my sons have come to me and wanted to talk about spiritual matters have been music to my heart. Hearing the cry of our long-awaited son, Sam, in the delivery room, after a harrowing pregnancy, was one of the sweetest sounds I have ever heard. My heart sings when my husband wraps his arms around me and whispers, "You're still the only one for me." Life has been full of these music-filled moments and I know there are many more to come.

Luke 15:7 paints a beautiful picture of what happens when a sinner comes to Christ. "I say to you that likewise there will be more joy in Heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance." Now I don't know if there is actual singing in Heaven or not. I guess I'll have to wait until I get there to find out. But I love this verse because I can just imagine the scene - the angels and saints rejoicing, God smiling - oh how wonderful it must be! The prayer of that sinner is surely the most beautiful sound that God has ever heard. It leaves a challenge on my heart, too, to endeavor to hear that same "music" during my days here, as I seek to lead others to Christ.

Happy listening!
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  1. Thank you for this post. I often don't stop the chaos of running around to really listen to the music. Sometimes with all the noises from the kids my brain is on overload trying to process it all so I turn off the one thing I have control over, the radio. I need to take the time to enjoy it more and not just view it as additional noise but yet a source of joy.

  2. I like your post, Sarah. Nice blog too.

    I love music--as I am reading your blog I am listening to Selah's "His Eye is on the Sparrow". I still love those great old hymns too.

    There is nothing wrong with those good ol songs of the 70s and 80s. Now I'm gonna have that "Bop" song in my head all night. Thanks! :)

  3. Sarah:
    Music has gotten me through some of the roughest moments of my life. This past summer, I listened to "angry girl music" to help me and now I'm back to my "good" stuff.
    Old Time Rockin Roll is my aunt's favorite song. At first this surprised me as she is a very strong Christian,but it really is a harmless, fun song (my dad's bro her hubby is not saved,but she has stood true to her testimony all these years and even now being only in her late 40's and dying of painful ovarian cancer). She amazes me!
    I would rather listen to an modern song about dealing with loss and betrayal than drive all the way to Missouri and well.. lets just leave it at that.
    I LOVE your honesty and use of words.
    Girl.. you never cease to amaze me.
    Speaking of amazing people. How is your mom doing??
    Love ya Girl!