Music: a fair and glorious gift of God

Revelation 21 3-4

On October 31, 1517, Martin Luther, Augustinian monk and professor of Scripture at the University of Wittenberg, posted an invitation to debate containing 95 points or theses on the door of the Wittenberg Cathedral. As the driving force behind the Protestant Reformation, Luther’s influence as a theologian continues 500 years following his defiant act. In addition, he was also recognized as a musician, composer, and lover of music who had this to say about music as “the universal language of mankind”:

Music is a fair and glorious gift of God. I wish to see all arts, principally music in the service of Him who gave and created them. I would not for all the world forego my humble share of music. . . .Music makes people kinder, gentler, more staid and reasonable. I am strongly persuaded that after theology there is no art that can be placed on a level with music; for besides theology music is the only art capable of affording peace and joy of the heart.

For some time as a writer I have been aware of the powerful influence of music in my life, particularly as an expression in my poetry. To quote the Poet (C’est moi): “. . . infusing music into my poetry, now I see:

“I got the music in me! I got the music in me! I got the music in me!”

I recall attending concerts and other musical performances that so profoundly moved me that I simply had to attempt to recapture the essence of what I experienced in poetry. Such was the case following a particularly memorable concert featuring Branford Marsalis along with guest soloist Ellis Marsalis, the father of jazz greats, Branford and Wynton. That particular performance inspired “Making Music” which speaks of the power of music. Here is an excerpt:

making music makes you smile

a boyish grin

like he knows a secret

the secret of the ages

(the mystery of music)

that still baffles sages

but the young man knows

is that why he smiles

and makes you smile

all the while he’s making music?

 

making music makes you laugh

until you see “Red”

                        hip-hoppin

                        finger poppin

                        thigh slappin

                        funtime red

diggin the sounds

“Piggin” out until you’re giddy

and feel all good inside

all the way down to the toes

of your can’t-help-yourself-foot-stompin feet

 

making music makes you cry

hearing “Dark Tones”

minor chords

in 12-bar form

touch the soul

and leave impressions

from fingertips dusted

in pool cue chalk blue

 

making music makes you remember

like poetry

. . . makes you remember what you didn’t know you knew

The smallest spark can kindle a desire,  

            Ignite a fire to stir and warm the heart

 

making music lingers

. . . like a glowing match before ember stage

The song is ended, but the melody lingers on

making music makes you. . .

makes you. . . making music you

Unquestionably, music is one of the most powerful forces on the Planet. Music, however, transcends this earthly realm. As Walter Savage Landor notes, “Music is God’s gift to man, the only art of Heaven given to earth, the only art of earth we take to Heaven.” This statement came to mind as I was reflecting on the Verse of the Day, for June 1, 2017 which provides a vivid picture of unfolding scenes of what is yet to come, according to the Message Bible:

Revelation 21:2-4:

And I John saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.

There is a reference to the opening verse of this often recited passage in this poem that celebrates music as a gift:

Thank God for the Music

All deep things are song. It seems somehow the very central

essence of us, song; as if all the rest were

but wrappages and hulls!

Thomas Carlyle

 

Day by day melodies overflow and flood our soul

With lyrics to the touch heart as God inspires them.

We compose reprises to play until the day

We sing our new song in the New Jerusalem

When all the chords of heaven and earth crescendo

In praise before the glory of the Lamb of God.

We shall stand before Him and with our eyes we shall see

The jeweled walls of heaven and the streets of gold

And the Holy City descending as a bride,

Adorned in royal splendor to meet her bridegroom.

We shall celebrate God’s grace at the wedding feast

And worship freely in His resplendent presence

As we join in chorus with the host of heaven

To thank God for the music and the gift of song.

We conclude as Esther Mui offers a musical rendering of Revelation 21:3-5 Song “Behold, I Make All Things New”:

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3 Responses to “Music: a fair and glorious gift of God”

  1. apocalypse2blog Says:

    I just changed our clock from westminster to ave maria – I often find myself humming it –
    one of the best

  2. HealingFortheSoulMinistry Says:

    Beautiful piece and well written …

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