I’ve been playing the piano for most of my life. Way before I could reach the pedals, my fingers loved to press the keys, bringing music to my imaginative stories. Butterflies, clouds, and birds fluttered through my mind when I played the high keys while trolls, monsters, and thunderstorms serenaded from the low keys. Years later lessons began and I learned the theory, techniques, and passion of music. (I must admit that at times, the passion was more about not practicing than the music itself. I’m very thankful that my mom required me to practice.)
The impact of music is powerful. When my dad had succumbed to Alzheimer’s Disease to the point he no longer knew his family, he still remembered music. Even after he could no longer speak, he loved music. One day a local church held a service for the residents where he lived and we sat with dad. As we sang The Old Rugged Cross, Mom saw tears running down Dad’s cheeks. He remembered the power of the cross through the power of music.
I find it amazing how music can bring memories swiftly to my mind. Mom was always singing the old tunes and if I hear even a familiar phrase, my mind transports me back to the joy of listening to mom sing.
Snowflake, Stumbling, Don’t Sit Under the Apple Tree, Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy, Down By the O-H-I-O, Wake Up, Little Suzie, The Church In the Wildwood, Home Sweet Home, Playmate – songs that have since been pretty much forgotten – I find myself singing them throughout the day.
On Sundays my church family sings together – Christmas carols to ‘the old’ hymns to newer hymns and praise songs – praising God with our voices. These too bring memories of services and people from years ago.
Of the many songs we sang yesterday, these two, I Know Whom I Have Believed and In The Garden, reminded me of two special people. The first song was a favorite of Rosemary who is now with her Savior. Rosemary played the organ for many years in our church and it became a habit for her family to sit on the left side of the church, second row back. Even when she gave up playing the organ, they sat in that row. Even when the organ was moved to the right side (and the piano to the left), Rosemary remained. As a result, I got to know her, as my family and I took up residence behind the piano, third row back.
In one of our conversations, Rosemary shared that this was one of her favorite songs – it reminded her that God will continue to work in her life, that He will “keep that which I’ve committed unto Him against that day.” No matter what may happen, what may come, she knew her future was secure in the work of Jesus in her life.
The second song, In the Garden, I’ve often played as an offertory. It’s a lovely song to play and I remember my mom singing it as well. But yesterday, it reminded me of Jo. Several years ago, Jo came to me after the service and thanked me for playing In the Garden. She explained that that song was playing the day she walked down the aisle and gave her life to Jesus. When she realized she was a sinner and needed a Savior. I could tell that the song, for her, had opened the floodgates of memories from that day long ago. It had encouraged her and given her renewed hope. Now, I never play that song without thinking of her, praying for her as she continues to love and serve her family through some tough times.
Music. A blessing from the Creator. A gift we too often take for granted. Music is not an invention of man. The morning stars sang together as God laid the foundations of the earth. (Job 38:7) The mountains, heavens, and earth will rejoice with singing one day (Isaiah 49:13) and God Himself will rejoice over us with singing. (Zephaniah 3:17)
Lift your voice in praise today. To the Creator. To the Savior. To the Almighty God. Sing the old hymns. Remember the blessings. Sing new songs – for He continues to do marvelous things. And wait for the day when we will forever praise Him with joy and music.
“And they sang a new song, saying: “You are worthy to take the scroll, And to open its seals; For You were slain, And have redeemed us to God by Your blood Out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation” Revelation 5:9