by Ken Rolheiser
God sings us a song when we need it most

When I am sad, I sing, and then others are sad with me. 

That reminds me of a tongue in cheek remark my oldest brother made when I told him that when I was enacting Judas in the Passion Play, some members of the audience were moved to tears. “Bad acting,” he implied, “can have that effect on people.”

After silence, music comes closest to expressing the inexpressible.

I remember singing through all the Mother goose nursery rhymes to try to keep a grandchild content when he or she was in that state between hunger and restlessness. 

It strikes me that just as the author of the Mother Goose Rhymes gives us hope and direction to live the good life and succeed in virtuous strife, so also God gives us music to cheer and inspire us.

Recently as I started preparing the evening lunch, I picked an old favorite disk to accompany me. I ended up delaying supper so I could hear the next Air Supply tune.

Art can express the inexpressible. One word in a favourite hymn moves us to tears and gives credence to the saying: “Our sweetest songs are those that tell of saddest thoughts.” Percy Bysshe Shelley.

When our hearts are young and brittle we find love songs to soothe us. The deeper experiences of life are expressed in opera or symphony. Music imitates real life and expresses what words cannot say.

“When two lovers meet in Mayfair
So the legends tell
Songbirds sing
Winter turns to spring”
And a nightingale sang in Berkeley Square.

Music has the power to transform us when we are down. It is impossible to frown and whistle a tune simultaneously. Here is an example from real life: “I turned onto the street where my father lives. The closer I got to the house, the more I dreaded seeing him.

“Since Mom died and he lived alone, Dad was often angry, and lately he was getting more and more confused. Today promised to be worse than usual. He had a new aid named Liuda, from our home country of Lithuania. The presence of a stranger was bound to make Dad even more irritable.”

The story goes on how Dad started to complain, “This new girl doesn’t know anything.” Liuda put a Lithuanian folk tune on the turntable. Dad started to sing. Liuda smiled. When the music stopped, they started chatting in Lithuanian. ( (Audrey Razgaitis – from Angels on Earth).

Another example of the power of music comes to us from Felipe Camacho whose story begins as a confused teen in Philadelphia in the 1990’s. He played video games and shared a life with friends who ended up in jail, dead or just failures in society.

One day he was playing a video game that required him to discover a page of piano music. The twenty second musical clip moved him to tears. He played it over and over.

In his last year in high school Felipe selected a music elective and found that the twenty second musical clip of Beethoven’s was part of a much greater composition. Today Dr. Felipe Camacho is a Pianist, Oboist, Classical Composer, Maestro, Chemist and Pharmacist.

“Music is one of the fairest and most glorious gifts of God, to which Satan is a bitter enemy, for it removes from the heart the weight of sorrow, and the fascination of evil thoughts.” Martin Luther.

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