Monday, August 29, 2016

Joy and Sorrow mingled together

Music is a great gift from God. I marvel over its power to help me in ways that go beyond the spoken word.

I recently attended the funeral of a righteous man who lived a good, long life. Before words were spoken or sung, we heard a song played by two musicians:  one on piano, the other tenor sax.  They are colleagues of mine who are tremendously sensitive and talented musicians.  The song was "Brethren we have met to worship"--a fitting invocation for the occasion.

The pianist began with soft notes, minor chords, light dissonance, somber tones:  grief explored.  Then the tenor sax jumped in, at first finding a tune that sounded more like sorrow than joy.  But then, it happened: piano and sax joining in one accord, marching majestically through the song with resonant notes of hope and confidence.  Nearing the end, the tenor sax waned. the piano softened her sound, and the song ended with an upward progression, once again slightly dissonant, the last note lingering unresolved . . .  calling brothers and sisters to worship God in sorrow and joy.

That song, especially the arrangement and the care with which it was presented, healed my heart--a man who was trying to celebrate a wonderful life with the ugly pallor of death staring us all in the face.

Thank God for music.  He heals me in ways I don't understand, especially as I think about the man who died in Christ, a servant we tried to memorialize, the one who knew more than most that music is God's gift to us all.

It's no wonder the end comes with a trumpet.