Fuel and Focus for the Journey of Life
As I reflect on my journey through life, I can see that views developed in my younger days have continued to fuel and guide me on my path of living and learning. These perspectives are based on key verses of scripture. Colossians 3:23 reminds me that all aspects of life are connected, that whatever we do and say should be for the glory of God. Another key verse is from Psalm 92:1- “It is good to give thanks to the Lord and to sing praises to Your name, O Most High” (NASB) An attitude of gratitude causes me to be thankful for blessings large and small. I’m thankful that my parents valued my development of innate musical gifts and provided for weekly piano lessons. This has resulted in many years of playing and singing for the glory of God and the encouragement of others. Another key verse is from Romans 15:13: “Now may the God of hope fill you with joy and peace in believing. May you abound in all hope and joy by the power of the spirit of God in you” (paraphrase mine). We need the forgiveness, joy and hope that Christ offers as an antidote to the despair that is so prevalent today. Another source of inspiration comes from the psalms, hymns and spiritual songs learned through worship and the singing of choral music. Lines from an anonymous writer have meant a lot to me:
For the common things we think and say,
God gave us speech in the common way.
For the higher thoughts we think and feel,
God gave the poets thoughts to reveal;
And, for the hidden depths words cannot reach,
God gave us music, the soul’s own speech. Anon.
When I ponder the way singing facilitates the memorization of words and thoughts, I realize what a fantastic privilege it is to teach and lead people of all ages in expressing their thoughts and feelings through words and music. For me, this may come through a classic song like “O Boundless Love” from St. John Passion by J.S. Bach. At another time it’s a classic love song like “All the Things You Are” by Jerome Kern, or a currently popular song like “You Raise Me Up.” One of my special privileges at present is the teaching of music to preschool children in a Montessori program. In Matthew 5:13-16 we learn that we are salt and light, and that our light is not to be hidden under a bushel. As the children are preparing for a service of Epiphany, the singing of “This Little Light of Mine” is a powerful seed to plant in their young, fertile minds and hearts. Epiphany is the season following Christmas that celebrates the manifestation of Christ to the wisemen and to the world as we follow the star to Bethlehem. Little children can be a special part of revealing the light of Christ. I’m thankful for the privilege of making music with people of all ages in their journey through the stages of life. Irenaeus, a 2nd C. writer said that the glory of God is a heart that is fully alive. The life he describes is one that is empowered by the Spirit. The apostle Paul wrote, “Be filled with the Holy Spirit, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, and making music to the Lord in your hearts” (Ephesians 5:18b-19, NLT).
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