To Soften Rocks, Or Bend A Knotted Oak
Musick has Charms to sooth a savage Breast, To soften Rocks, or bend a knotted Oak. I’ve read, that things inanimate have mov’d, And, as with living Souls, have been inform’d, By Magick Numbers and persuasive Sound. What then am I? Am I more senseless grown Than Trees, or Flint? O force of constant Woe! ‘Tis not in Harmony to calm my Griefs. Anselmo sleeps, and is at Peace; last Night The silent Tomb receiv’d the good Old King; He and his Sorrows now are safely lodg’d Within its cold, but hospitable Bosom. Why am not I at Peace?
“The Mourning Bride”, 1697
I don’t know about you, but I just love to sing. Now when I was younger, I could carry a passably pleasing tune. Today, not so much, which is just fine because most of my singing is limited to times when I am around my family whose capacity to carry a tune rivals my own! And besides, probably 50% of my musical repertoire comes from the children’s television programming and movies geared to the under 5 age group, and since Landon is generally singing (or giving singing a good try) right along with me, in his eyes, I am a Memaw Diva! Music hath such charms, and to reinforce this point, EVERY single time some of his favorite shows come on, even if he is in another room, Landon comes bounding into the living room and starts rocking and grooving to the beat of these amazingly stimulating theme songs. And when I see the joy and happiness in his eyes, I am returned to the time when I could comfortably hold him for hours at a time in my arms and stop his tiny tears and lull him to sleep by softly singing songs to him…..which I did…..often and unashamedly!
Think about something for a moment. Have you ever been able to feel anger or hatred or remorse or any of the dozen negative emotions that sometimes can hang around our necks like millstones, when you raise your voice up in song? Not even a negative word can be uttered when we are joyfully and whole heartedly raising our voices up as we listen to our favorite recording.
Did you know that music’s charms are indeed healing? A pilot study is currently being undertaken based on an unusual phenomenon relating to Parkinson’s Disease. The study began when reports emerged that a man with severe Parkinson’s disease suddenly stopped having tremors when listening to the Fort Wayne Philharmonic Orchestra’s concerts! Music Therapy is being used more and more in treating Psychiatric disorders and music is incorporated into Holistic Therapies, as well!
The learned authors who penned the Books of the Bible certainly recognized the importance that music plays both in the lives of man as well as in the worship and praising of our Lord and Savior. Did you know that there are somewhere in the neighborhood of 1150 verses in the Bible that reference music in some way? Not all talk about singing per se.
Some refer to the instruments used to make music such as the lyre, harp, trumpet and horn while others do, in fact, refer to hymns, songs, music, melodies and psalms that is the essence of music itself. And of course, as I am wont to do, I wonder that if those seeking to share to good news about God made so many references to just this fact, why is it that we, as a collective group, don’t spend much more of our time singing our hearts out? Perhaps if we did, don’t you think we would find a little less time to hate one another and a little more time to love our neighbor?
Worried about whether you can carry a tune? Don’t be! God doesn’t care if the music we share is up to the standards of Placido Domingo. Just like Truvy Jones (Dolly Parton) said in “Steel Magnolias”, “God don’t care which church you go to as long as you show up”, I have to think he thinks the same way about our singing His praises! Which is why I am sharing some of the wonderful bible verses that talk about music and singing!
1 Chronicles 16:8-9
Give thanks unto the LORD, call upon his name, make known his deeds among the people. Sing unto him, sing psalms unto him, talk ye of all his wondrous works.
1 Chronicles 16:23
Sing unto the LORD, all the earth; shew forth from day to day his salvation.
Sing praises to the LORD, which dwelleth in Zion: declare among the people his doings.
Sing unto the LORD, O ye saints of his, and give thanks at the remembrance of his holiness.
Praise the LORD with harp: sing unto him with the psaltery and an instrument of ten strings. Sing unto him a new song; play skilfully with a loud noise.
Sing praises to God, sing praises: sing praises unto our King, sing praises. For God is the King of all the earth: sing ye praises with understanding.
Make a joyful noise unto God, all ye lands: 2 Sing forth the honour of his name: make his praise glorious.
O let the nations be glad and sing for joy: for thou shalt judge the people righteously, and govern the nations upon earth. Selah.
Sing unto God, sing praises to his name: extol him that rideth upon the heavens by his name JAH, and rejoice before him.
Sing unto God, ye kingdoms of the earth; O sing praises unto the Lord; Selah: To him that rideth upon the heavens of heavens, which were of old; lo, he doth send out his voice, and that a mighty voice.
Sing aloud unto God our strength: make a joyful noise unto the God of Jacob.
It is a good thing to give thanks unto the LORD, and to sing praises unto thy name, O most High: To shew forth thy loving kindness in the morning, and thy faithfulness every night, Upon an instrument of ten strings, and upon the psaltery; upon the harp with a solemn sound.
Psalms 95:1 -2
O come, let us sing unto the LORD: let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation. Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto him with psalms.
O sing unto the LORD a new song: sing unto the LORD, all the earth. Sing unto the LORD, bless his name; shew forth his salvation from day to day.
O sing unto the LORD a new song; for he hath done marvellous things: his right hand, and his holy arm, hath gotten him the victory.
Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all the earth: make a loud noise, and rejoice, and sing praise. Sing unto the LORD with the harp; with the harp, and the voice of a psalm.
Serve the LORD with gladness: come before his presence with singing.
O give thanks unto the LORD; call upon his name: make known his deeds among the people. Sing unto him, sing psalms unto him: talk ye of all his wondrous works.
Praise the LORD; for the LORD is good: sing praises unto his name; for it is pleasant.
Praise ye the LORD: for it is good to sing praises unto our God; for it is pleasant; and praise is comely.
Praise ye the LORD. Sing unto the LORD a new song, and his praise in the congregation of saints.
Let them praise his name in the dance: let them sing praises unto him with the timbrel and harp.
Let the saints be joyful in glory: let them sing aloud upon their beds.
Sing unto the LORD; for he hath done excellent things: this is known in all the earth.
Sing unto the LORD a new song, and his praise from the end of the earth, ye that go down to the sea, and all that is therein; the isles, and the inhabitants thereof. Let the wilderness and the cities thereof lift up their voice, the villages that Kedar doth inhabit: let the inhabitants of the rock sing, let them shout from the top of the mountains.
Sing unto the LORD, praise ye the LORD: for he hath delivered the soul of the poor from the hand of evildoers.
Sing, O daughter of Zion; shout, O Israel; be glad and rejoice with all the heart, O daughter of Jerusalem.
Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion: for, lo, I come, and I will dwell in the midst of thee, saith the LORD.
And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.
Is any among you afflicted? let him pray. Is any merry? let him sing psalms.
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