Music in Time

Wristwatch parts

How can we serve a God we have forgotten? Perhaps we cannot. Or at least not well.

Remembrance: A Biblical Priority

In my last post I talked about the importance of remembrance. The biblical writers seem to think quite highly of it. More than that, when they talk about remembrance, they usually talk about the real-life consequences associated with remembering or forgetting. Psalm 106:6-7 tells us that the Israelites failed to remember how God delivered them from slavery they began to rebel. Conversely, Psalm 22:27-28 links right remembrance with a return to God. This makes sense, for how can anyone serve a God they have forgotten? Remembrance profoundly shapes our thoughts and our actions.

Music: A Timely Gift

Have you ever been so transfixed by a piece of music that you lose all sense of time? Have you ever felt music so deeply that you feel as though it is inhabiting you, or you it? For me, in that moment, music arrests all of my senses (not just my hearing) and demands all of my attention. I savour each moment as it arrives and passes away in the ebb and flow of musical time. Such experiences for are not like floating away on a timeless cloud as much as they are like sinking into the rich soil of temporality. These experiences are spacious, mysterious, and alluring – some might even say mystical – not because they somehow allow us to escape time, but because they allow us to abide peaceably with it. This is some of what Jeremy Begbie explores in his wonderful book Theology, Music, and Time. Music helps us to remember that time is not our enemy.

Contentment: A Fruit of Being Present

If you have ever felt like time is against you let this be an encouragement. Time is part of God’s good creation. Without time, there would be no music. Without time, there would be no remembrance either! At all points of the music-listening and music-making process memory is at play– yet we do not dwell in the past or the future when we experience music. Instead we learn to live – if only for a few moments – entirely in the present, remembering what has been and anticipating what is to come, but always appreciating what is. Our God is the God of history. He is working out His redemptive plan in time and lovingly invites us to participate in it. God’s work within time reminds me that I don’t have to be anxious. I can breathe.

Do you have a song that captivates all of your senses, a song that you love to “sink” into? Please tell me about it. I would love to hear it and to learn more about why it is meaningful to you.

Photo courtesy of Aleksandra P.

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