Music is the language of the spirit.
It opens the secret of life bringing peace, abolishing strife. – Kahlil Gibran
For many years, I lived in New York City, where every day there were numerous opportunities to hear fabulous music. I often went to hear jazz, or opera, or took a picnic to Central Park for concerts on the lawn. I sometimes attended open rehearsals at the New York Philharmonic. At a final rehearsal, the music was played as beautifully as if it were the actual performance.
I confess that I felt a bit smug about the music of New York City. There could be no better place for music. But during my last year of living in The City, I was unable to get to any of those wonderful concerts. I was just too sick. So I tried to imagine myself going to them and hearing the beautiful music in my head.
A few days ago, a group of us watched the movie The Shawshank Redemption. There is a special moment in the film when the inmate Andy (Tim Robbins) receives a bunch of books and old records for his fledgling library. He puts on a record of two singers singing an aria from Le Nozze di Figaro. Because he is a trusted inmate who works in the office, he knows how to turn on the loud speaker system that broadcasts to all corners of the prison. So he turns on the music full blast, and the aria fills the entire place. His friend Red (Morgan Freeman) states that although the inmates had not a clue “what those two women were singing” in Italian, it was a moment when every man in the prison was touched deeply in their soul. That everyone felt at that moment like they were truly free people. The music had gone deep, making their spirits soar.
Now I live in a community called Penney Farms, Florida. I confess I was afraid there wouldn’t be good music around – after all it was not New York City. But to be honest, I have never experienced so much music in my life as I do here. I’ve been to jazz bars, the Jacksonville Symphony (a wonderful orchestra), and concerts of all sorts with first-rate musicians performing right here on my own campus. And we also have opportunities to participate in music ranging from a brass band to a barbershop quartet to choirs to a cappella groups. I have joined several of the singing groups and find my soul soaring and deeply touched – much the same as Red did.
Somehow music has a way of helping us let go of the things we’re worried about or are afraid of – if and when we just let it take over. We can become completely captured and mesmerized by breathtaking music. Music almost becomes like a meditation, even a prayer for me, a time of peace, and a lovely gift from God.
Our lives are so full of external and internal noises. Perhaps we can occasionally turn off some of the noises and take the time to listen to music that can be a blessing and a prayer for us.
* Do you ever find your soul lifted by music?
* Do you make time to go to concerts or at least listen to your special music?
* Can you just let go and let the music take over for you?
Beloved God, creator of music and giver of the gift of music. Help us to stop from time to time, to block out the noisiness of our lives, and to listen to your music. Help us understand that music is the language of the spirit, that it can open the secret of life bringing peace, abolishing strife. May we let the music fill our souls so we may soar with you. Amen