A thread winds through the cosmos, a thin golden fiber of sound called “the song of the redeemed”. It has resonated from eternity and will vibrate on until it reaches eternity again.
The sound gets lost in the cacophony we call fallen existence and rises only at points to the surface of our attentions. We can make what we call music, even God music, and never once touch the song. But lay even a tentative unintentional finger to that string through any craft of man and you will no longer play music. The music will play you.
On winter mornings we would eat our soft boiled eggs and toast before going grocery shopping.
On the long Massachusetts winter afternoons Grandma Lillie would take us for a walk on the hardened lake water or we might go down into the cellar to learn children’s hymns while Grampa Lillie watched his bowling shows.
She had an old McMillan upright she would play as my sister and I sang. It was on that piano I learned middle c and touched the song for the first time.
In fourth grade I decided I wanted to play an instrument. My family was all about it until they learned I wanted to play flute. Mom stayed on board with me. Grandma was good with it. Dad ,though, you see it was the age of Archie Bunker and Dad was a kinder gentler version of that guy. In his mind male flute players came with a complete set of concerns apart from learning how to play a high B flat. Truth be told I had a crush on Ms. Wood, the elementary music teacher. I had heard her say that the flute was her favorite instrument.
It turned out though that God had chosen the instrument. He just used my secret crush to get me going in His direction.
All my life I had lumbered through the boy stuff. I had all the grace of a water buffalo on the sports field. Getting me to tie those knots in Boyscouts was like asking me to commit ritual Hari Kari. I remember once my dad had me help him with the manly task of stacking wood. I was passing the wood to him and he would stack. I think we got through ten pieces before I beaned him in the noggin with a log.
But put a flute in my hand or give me a song to sing and I could touch Heaven (at least in my own heart). I was good with music. I could find the thread.
Mostly I have stumbled across the song by accident. I took piano lessons for five years but dropped the instrument during college in favor of singing. Then in 2001 I was forced to take up the keys again when the pastor I was working under fired the church organist. That forced mishap was again a God thing. He knew the skill set I would need to be a music pastor at Cornerstone (my current church).
I have a little plaque in my garden that says “The purpose of life is a life on purpose.” Somewhere along the way figuring out my purpose became an important step in my walk of grace. At my life coach’s urging I even boiled that purpose down into one statement:
“I am to create a culture of worship.”
Music has been the best expression and the strongest magic in my life. But its strength, its magic is in touching the thread, touching God. For me one way I touch His heart is to make music. I realize that is not how everyone sings their song.
Some see the song as a path. For others it is a color or a light. Still others see it as a kingdom, a goal, a contest, a puzzle or a project. But for me it will always be a sound, a word to be sought, a melody to be mimicked, a poem to be set to rhythm and harmony.