Friday, March 21, 2014

Weaving Stories into Music

"... God makes the man that makes the book, or the picture, or the machine. Would God give us a drama?  He makes a Shakespeare....  When he would have an epic, he sends a thinking hero into his drama, and the epic is his soliloquy of his Hamlet.  Instead of writing his lyrics, he sets his birds and his maidens a-singing.  All the processes of the ages are God's science; all the flow of history is his poetry."
~ George Macdonald from his book A Dish of Orts (I got the free ebook from Amazon)

(This is something I wrote quite a while ago but am just now finishing)
My family was all gone for the moment.  I was alone in my house, and there was silence and freedom.  So I timidly stepped over the bench to rest there, right in front of the black, silent, gentle monster.  But I didn't know why I was doing this.  It was in front of me, dangerous and awe-full.  Beautiful being.  Dead till someone breathes into it.  Like an imaginary friend.  Shining black armor, completely smooth all around, and pure white teeth with black gums.  A piano, grand indeed.
Then I laid my fingers on the keys.  But I didn't know why I was doing this.  I had already played it today.  Maybe I heard a whisper.  Maybe I was lured to the instrument.  When my family is here, I must restrain myself and not play so loudly or passionately, so as not to disturb anyone.  I release myself into the music whenever I feel sad.  Writing clothes me.  Music lays my soul bare.
I can lose myself here, in the music, if I stay too long.  It can be like a daydream when you're caught in one, floating amongst living sounds.  Sounds that paint pictures.  I know I cannot physically taste music, but I feel like I could if only I would open my mouth.
Not so much music that has lyrics, though those songs can be very thought-provoking and add dimension and reality to the song, but music that is wordless is the stuff that comes out of nowhere for me to happen upon and write.  Praying without speech, some call it.
And when I write music, I sometimes see a story behind it forming.

"What a beautiful thing, God, to give thanks, to sing an anthem to you, the High God! To announce your love each daybreak, sing your faithful presence all through the night, Accompanied by dulcimer and harp, the full-bodied music of strings."  ~Psalm 92:1-3~
In pursuing our creative passions, like painting or writing stories or playing music, we worship our maker.  They did say after all, to worship in spirit and in truth, outside of that other world called 'church'.  It can seem like another world after all.  A better one.  A place where God is welcome.  

But sometimes when we're at church, we become other people that don't even resemble ourselves.  We change ourselves for an hour or two, sometimes.  A moment later, it seems, we're back at home and nearly nothing has changed because we go back into our normal routines, as if we hadn't gone to church that day.  Unless we speak words into the day, and let them live in our homes, or unless we think about the message outside church, not much will change at all in your life.  You may have even wasted time going to church, if you are only going through the motions.
Recently, I realized how much church can cover itself in masks.  How sometimes our worship music is made exciting to make us excited, or made sad to make us feel serious, and in that way... the music make us feel like we're really worshipping God.  Only now do I better appreciate the original hymns that were simple, but their words profound.  I definitely like modern worship music too, when the words have meaning.  And I can't judge anyone else' heart but my own. 
It is not always the case, and certainly not in every church, but sometimes it is that way.
I realized it when a friend of a friend was brought to our church, who doesn't believe in God.  I suddenly saw everything through their eyes, and almost felt ashamed of the spectacle before my eyes that I came to, every week, without a second thought about what it looked like.  Though again, I can't know anyone's heart but my own.
For God looks not on the outward appearance of worship, but on the heart.  Or, looks at the lyrics and not so much the melody or rhythm of the music.
Sometimes we don't know how to feel when in church.  Church can be the most awkward place in the world, especially depending on the denomination, during worship.  We feel very self-aware of ourselves and think everyone is watching, when in fact they shouldn't be watching, and probably aren't paying much thought to you in the first place.
We think the music should show us how to feel.  But worship is not based on emotions.  Love should not be based on emotions.  It is an action, like worship.  A crush on someone is an emotion.  A fandom is based on emotions.  But church shouldn't be a fandom.  We're not supposed to merely be fans, on the outside rails, watching things happen and cheering people on and cheering whenever the truth is said.  We need to let God change our lives, by listening for him every day, and doing what we know we should do because we love him.  I know that when I pay attention, I learn things.  Something new every single day. 
I do apologize for not writing more blog posts lately.  I do have an idea of how to change that.  Would you like to read some of my poetry/excerpts from my writing?  At least that would be easy to put on here.  I do have a lot of blog posts already half-written and saved.  I only need to finish them. 
Would you like to read some of my story/poetry on this blog so that I can start posting more here?


  1. Oh lovely, lovely post! Wonderful! I love this. Especially the bit about changing ourselves outside of church and church shouldn't be a fandom. I totally agree. Have you ever read the book "Not A Fan" by Kyle Idleman? I haven't, but my youth group went through a video program based off of the book. It's about not being merely a fan of Jesus, a "Sunday Christian," but being a follower of Jesus, like the disciples, who got up and left everything to follow Him.
    But then there's always the next step. What do we do about it? Get involved with the worship, the youth group - change how things are done.

    I know how you feel about the half-written blog posts... I've got quite a few like that too. It would be nice to read about some of your projects. I'd enjoy it.

    1. Our church has mentioned that book before, but I haven't read it yet. That's funny!

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  3. I like bashing the piano when my family is out too. :) I don't feel when I make horrible mistakes! I used to do a lot of improv which was awesome and I would really get lost in the music, buuut, now my interests have turned more to books. Gah. I don't even remember how to improv so much anymore! You have a grand piano??! AWESOME.

    1. Yeah, it's my dad's but I get to play on it too. :)