Music taps into our very souls sometimes

Music taps into our very souls sometimes.  We will listen to a hymn and a recollection will rush into our mind of a place far away from here in both space and time.  We can see the place, hear the music, sit beside the people who are recalled in that moment.  

At other times, music will move our spirits in such a way that we cannot possibly speak.  Maybe we are overwhelmed by the imagery or the beauty of the words.  All we know is that it taps into our very self in a way that we cannot express.  

This past Sunday, we used a video which contained pictures of many of our children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, and pets.  It was lovely, and I knew what it contained because I had prepared it from everyone’s pictures.  As I edited it, I thought of all the families represented in this video.  I thought of all the joy represented in those photos and videos. 

As I sat in the worship, thinking about what was coming, it must have overwhelmed me in some way.  All of a sudden, we were singing a hymn, and I felt some very extreme feelings from the words of the hymn.  My eyes filled with tears, and I was choking up.  The hymn was “Lord, Whose Love Through Humble Service.”  I have put the words below, and bolded the verse which choked me up.  

Lord, whose love through humble service 

Bore the weight of human need, 
Who upon the cross, forsaken, 

Offered mercy’s perfect deed: 
We, your servants, bring the worship 

Not of voice alone, but heart, 
Consecrating to Your purpose 

Ev’ry gift that you impart. 

Still your children wander homeless; 

Still the hungry cry for bread; 
Still the captives long for freedom; 

Still in grief we mourn our dead. 
As, O Lord, your deep compassion 

Healed the sick and freed the soul, 
Use the love your Spirit kindles 

Still to save and make us whole. 

As we worship, grant us vision, 

Till your love’s revealing light 

In its height and depth and greatness, 

Dawns upon our quickened sight, 

Making known the needs and burdens 

Your compassion bids us bear, 

Stirring us to tireless striving, 

Your abundant life to share. 

Called by worship to your service, 

Forth in your dear name we go, 

To the child, the youth, the aged, 

Love in living deeds to show; 

Hope and health, goodwill and comfort, 

Counsel, aid, and peace we give, 

That your servants, Lord, in freedom 

May your mercy know and live. 

It was just a flash in my mind, and in hearing and singing the words that I thought of the children in the video, of our homeless friend Stephen who was sitting in the back of the sanctuary with us, of immigrants on the US / Mexico border who are packed into immigration camps because of their desire for a better life for their family.  I thought of the Annual Conference Memorial Service which would be held in a few hours.  All of that hurtled through my mind in just a moment, and I was overcome.  

All I could think was “I have to speak in a moment!  I need to get this under control a bit!”  Yet it seemed like such an important moment that I needed to be in it for just a bit.  So I let the feelings just wash over me in a way, and I just waited. 

When it was time to speak, I was able to do so.  But I felt like something had changed, had shifted, in my mind.  I have to tell you that my sermon was kind of a blur to me, because I kept thinking, even as I was preaching, about this experience.  I knew that I could not say anything then, because I wasn’t even sure I had the words.  

I’m not even sure now.  I just know that something changed for me.  And I am grateful.  I am thankful for people like an unknown-to-me person named Albert F. Bayly, who wrote this song in 1961.  I am grateful to Frank for choosing it for worship.  I am thankful for all the photos and videos of beloved children.  I am thankful for the moment.  

If you have had an experience like this, please feel free to share it – with me, with someone.  Moments of great grace like this can feed many a person.  

Peace be with you. – Paul

~ by revpaulcalkin on September 21, 2021.

One Response to “Music taps into our very souls sometimes”

  1. Thank you for sharing your post Pastor Paul. Perfect timing for a Monday! Music has brought me back from the depths of despair on numerous occasions. I enjoyed your ponderings, keep up the good work.

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