Music has always been a part of my life. It began in childhood with loving to sing and having parents who had lovely voices. Since my mother was our church’s children’s choir director even before I was born, that became a formal part of my musical background. But there was more.
My mother played the piano a bit and had played the saxophone in high school. Both of those had been set aside by the time I was old enough to remember, but she was a part of a ladies’ trio that I loved to hear practice. It was little wonder that she helped me and two other 4-H friends become a trio also that competed in 4-H circles and occasionally performed.
My mother’s encouragement and influence resulted in adding piano and saxophone lessons for me in addition to the children’s choir and trio while I was in elementary school. By high school I was also taking voice lessons from our exceptional high school choral director. Through his tutelage I started doing solo work, ensembles, and participating in a state honored a cappella choir. I also got introduced to a diverse range of music from classical to religious, musical theater and pop to classic rock and roll, swing and big band to blue grass.
I had fallen in love with music and the various rhythms and cadences it offered. At night I dreamed about being a part of musical theater. They were fun dreams, but not the path the Lord had for me. It didn’t change my love of music, however.
That love showed up in our two children who both sang and played the piano at levels far above my mother’s or mine. I savored every one of their recital and musical theater performances. My son was a keyboardist in a Christian contemporary band in high school and college and spent a period of his adult life working with Christian musicians and artists in Nashville. I know this love of music still thrives as I see him starting to collect vinyl and jamming to the music he loved.
My daughter’s love for music never diminished through high school and college in vocal music as well as piano. Her dad and I loved watching her talent and skills develop. One of the most significant memories for us was when she was a high school senior. She taught herself and played the Edvard Grieg Piano Concerto in A Minor with the high school concert band despite her piano teacher’s concerns. Her dad was on his feet leading a standing ovation as she played the last note. Then as she approached 40 she set and reached a goal to learn to play the violin.
All of our six grandchildren are music lovers as well. Among them we have a drummer, two pianists, a violinist, a cellist, and nearly all of them sing. I think you would call this a musical heritage!
Music accompanies most of my days in one form or another and helps set a tone or rhythm, but it is not the only rhythm that influences my day or helps me to stay salty. (I wrote recently about the importance of being salt in “What Kind of Salt Are You?”) To stay salty I need to be renewed in the truth of God’s Word in relationship with Him.
Yes, study of His Word is important, but if I stop there and miss time in the Word as an interaction with Him I am missing a key ingredient to the rhythm of my life and the source of my hope and confidence.
Have you noticed how the Bible shows us rhythms through repetition not only in poetic books like Psalms, but throughout the Word? The “music” reflects major and minor tones, sharps and flats (much as our lives demonstrate).
Recently as I was reading in The Burning Word by Judith Kunst, she noted an observation that made me smile:
“What I have called repetition in the Bible might most accurately be called rhythm: a carefully shaped set of recurrent stories and words that when studied closely erupts with meaning.”
Judith would say that is transformative and I would agree.
Hear her words on that:
“A work of art. A song. An ordered repetition that provides the underlying beat on which we may play out the varied notes of our own unique, improvised, musical conversation with God.
In the end we are all…composing a song of deeds which only God understands. The song of our lives, brokenly yet rhythmically, mirrors the song of scripture to which we spend that life, gathered at the entrance of the altar listening.”
Many things influence the rhythms of our life and affect whether they underscore a major or minor key. We do not control all of them. Age, illness, job loss, and many other things add flats and sharps to the music our lives are writing, but the recurrent stories, words, and rhythms of the Bible can impact what rhythms we choose to make our own.