Friday, October 23, 2009

Friday Five: Our Favorite Music

The Friday Five come from here.

Martin Luther said:

"I have no use for cranks who despise music, because it is a gift of God. Music drives away the Devil and makes people gay; they forget thereby all wrath, unchastity, arrogance, and the like. Next after theology, I give to music the highest place and the greatest honor."


On this Friday before Reformation Sunday, let's talk about music. Share with us five pieces of music that draw you closer to the Divine, that elevate your mood or take you to your happy place. They might be sung or instrumental, ancient or modern, sacred or popular...whatever touches you.


1. My favorite hymn is "My Life Flows On". See my sermon about it here and another post here. I love this hymn and it brings me great comfort to hear it or to sing it.

2. Bach's "Sheep May Safely Graze" is one of the pieces of music that relaxes my mind and body. I think I listened to it, looped, for a couple hours once when I was very upset. With the calming flute melodies, the piece also brings to mind the peace of Christ and the grace that comes from believing you are part of the flock of the Good Shepherd. You can listen to the song on Youtube here.

3. The soundtrack to "Little Women" (1994, starring Susan Sarandon and Winona Ryder) has been the soundtrack to many meaningful moments in my life. I listened to it alone on the last night I spent in my dorm room before my college graduation (when everyone else was out partying). I listened to it as I prepared for my wedding. I've written many sermons with the airy instrumentals of that soundtrack playing in the background. I like the movie, but the soundtrack has been even more special to me- apart from the story.

4. My favorite song of all time is "Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring." I have more versions of that song in my collection than any other. (At last count, around 22.) I can recognize the strains of it anywhere. But it's not just the music. Consider these lyrics:

Jesu, joy of man’s desiring,
Holy wisdom, love most bright;
Drawn by Thee, our souls aspiring
Soar to uncreated light.
Word of God, our flesh that fashioned,
With the fire of life impassioned,
Striving still to truth unknown,
Soaring, dying round Thy throne.

Through the way where hope is guiding,
Hark, what peaceful music rings;
Where the flock, in Thee confiding,
Drink of joy from deathless springs.
Theirs is beauty’s fairest pleasure;
Theirs is wisdom’s holiest treasure.
Thou dost ever lead Thine own
In the love of joys unknown.

I want to comment, but there is nothing I can say to improve upon those lyrics.

5. When a soldier/airmen/Marine/sailor returns from a deployment, it's called "reunion". At our reunion in 2007, Rob was supposed to arrive on a Sunday morning at 11 am. Then it was 3:30 pm. Then 10 pm. Then around midnight. During what became the longest 30+ hours of my life, I walked on the treadmill, I made cookies, I went to the store, and I listened to Queen's "Somebody to Love" about 80 times. Again, I listened on a loop and danced around my kitchen, shaved my legs, drank a beer, singing: "Can anybody find meeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee somebody toooooooo looooooooooooooooooove?" Because of this association with this song, I don't listen to it that often. And if I hear when I'm not expecting it, I can have a very emotional reaction.

This happened the other day when I watching something on a friend's recommendation. The closing number of the show was "Somebody to Love". I sucked in my breath at the opening "Caaaaaaaan...." It's hard to hear the song right now because reunion is still over two months away this time. But it's coming. In less than 80 days (I hope), I should once again be able to my dance (preferably for fewer hours), shower, bake, shave and change the baby and then get in the car to know exactly where I will find somebody to love.

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