As I watched a performance of ‘sappy songs’, very emotional in the enacting as well as in the singing, I realized how important music is in our lives. I was very touched by the stories being told in the songs. The rhythm of the music matched that of the heartbeat. The singer put his whole self into the music, voice, body, soul and spirit. The music became a sort of dance in itself. There was a sense of the divine in what was happening there, not in a sappy, sentimental way but in a way that touched something other, greater, more universal in sensibility. Song, poetry, rhymed stories are as old as time itself. Music as an art is older even than the oldest art forms. Here was something making a powerful connection with its audience. I felt it as an experience of love; again, not something sappy and sentimental or even romantic but something that uplifts and moves and connects.
Stay with me. It may seem I making a leap here…but hang on.
I’ve been thinking lately about what the spirit of Christ means in our lives. The Spirit he left with his followers, and us, at Pentecost. What is that spirit?
Perhaps it feels like beautiful music feels. How the sound enters your whole being when the singer puts himself or herself into the words and music. Like the rising orchestra, it swells in the cavity of your heart, where soul launches itself and takes in all that is real and beautiful and true. Music like no other art has a purity about it. It transcends language and even cultures. It becomes part, I believe, of that love that knows, recognizes itself in the world and in others. I think that is what God is.
God as given out into the world, all of himself, breath and motion and being. What draws us and ‘decorates’ us in nature. The variable delight of seasons that transform the landscapes and how we adjust ourselves to the changing weather. How we weather weather. God is the radiance, warmth and glow of the sun. There is a correspondence between music and math. And I see the sciences ‘act’, reveal themselves in the inner workings the way in which we human beings ‘work’; function. God is the moon glow, the rising in the darkened night sky, the light that illumines the darkest night and gives way to a quiet dawning as sun slowly reveals itself lighting the world and giving the flattened nighttime world form, shape, color, density. God is bird and blooming ever in us. And sometimes hidden like the notes on a page yet to be put to string, yet knowing it is there, ready to go out into the world. We are in the eternal now. Where every piece and person says holy, holy, holy. The music of love that awaits us. The sacred fingerprint and the unsung notes of a song we keep listen for and at the same time to which we are attuned. He is the music of the roar and thunder of things gone wrong. Being stronger than the pull of the moon. Like water and light that know no boundaries. Like music that travels across the empty spaces of the world. Insisting in its rhythm of life the beat of the human heart. The push and the pull. What is taken up and will be experienced in the great crush of life all about us. The God who said I am.
I am human; I am what a human being is as well. Moments of mindless transport, forgetfulness in creating, in touching, in the dance of praise and self-expression. The pull of attraction, the desire to be, to be near, to touch, to belong, be part of something bigger. Yes, there is a universe in a grain of sand, a tree from a mustard seed, a whole being in a tear, the single note a bird sings in the morning. The sparkle of the star upon the water. The ceaseless flow of rivers. Leading us on. Carrying us across. The alpha and omega of the great rivers. The constancy. We have rivers and seas within us.
In the soft brown eyes, the touch of lips, the embrace that enfolds our being if only briefly, the smile at this moment, things lost and things found, so that one day we will know that we have been found at last. The absolute freedom of birds and bats, the wild we seek to tame, yet destroy, because this too is part of the human and the sacred, that seeks, and is ever, and always alive. I am. Which we are given not only to name but also to tame and can end. This fierce unfathomable power. The bad things that yield to the good; those things meant to get our attention if beauty does not. Things can go wrong. Things can be made right. The indomitable, intractable mystery, that remains like the echo of music, the beckoning beyond like notes we follow. So we keep pushing up through the earth, like a new shoot reaching for the light, gentled by the night, the rain, the quiet fall of snow. The unpredictable gift of this mystery. I am. The unforeseeable miracle, where the deity does deign to show us life is not as we think it is. It is more. I am that more.
Like the egg, the day, the night, our lives are ever breaking open to the new. Because, Aquinas and Aristotle, the sacred is not unmovable. The sacred became and becomes something, someone right before our very eyes. Someone who felt as we do, loved as we do, disliked power for powers sake, as we do; spoke truth to power and who died as we will. Lest we forget, shows us dying is not the end. The music goes on. Fluidly moves with the spirit to that something, the endless, unyielding rhythm of life. Every season shows us this eternal return. The God who seems to hide himself upon the mountaintop or in the darkened cave of our hearts is there, composing the symphonies that crisscross across the rise and fall of the wind; the impress of life is upon the world and us. What each thing does is who God is, what God does. What nature is, God is. What we are, God is.
And we have only, only to be ever and always mindful of this presence. It is the music of the universe. The song God sings each morning to an awakening humanity; that hums through the day and hushes day’s end.