Saturday, December 3, 2016
THANK GOD FOR MUSIC! by Linden Malki
Music is one of the greatest gifts of our Creator. There is no "logical" reason that music has a profound effect on our minds and spirits, but the experience of music affects our mood, enhances our memory, helps us learn, and brings people together. One confirmation of the effect of music is its connection with Christmas--we are at the time of year when almost anyplace we go, especially shopping, we are surrounded by music--and we often find ourselves singing along mentally if not audibly. We are drawn together in celebration with music--many of the events of the season are based on music.
I took piano lessons as a child, and have played off and on most of my life; not much recently, however. Last evening, there happened to be no one else at home when I got there, and it seemed like a good time to play. There was a book of Christmas music there on the piano; playing my way through it I found that I was playing many of them from memory. They brought back memories--of Christmas programs over the years; songs that had been part of kids' choirs I have worked with, groups I've sung with, the praise band I played vibraphone with when I was in high school. My folks both sang in choirs (in fact, that's how they met); all three of my brothers sang, two of them professionally. My dad's family would gather around the piano at my grandmother's or aunt's house for an evening sing-along, and some of my cousins still do. The night before a family funeral I found myself practicing a duet in Swedish with one of my cousins, to be part of the service.
Swedish Baptists sing! I went on a Swedish Baptist Heritage tour in 1998 with folks interested in Swedish Baptist history on the 150th anniversary of the first adult believer's baptism in Sweden, I was somewhat surprised that the tour organizers sent out a small book of Swedish hymns with instructions to practice, as we would probably be singing in churches around Sweden. At one point a group of us were in a church that didn't happen to have an accompanist that Sunday, so I found myself at a piano. We sang on the buses as well, just for the joy of it. Singing is a good introduction to a language; some years ago at Calvary our Kids' Christmas Choir did carols in about a half-dozen different languages; a good way to get a taste of the ways people around the world celebrate the coming of the Messiah.
The NorthPoint Choir singers have a program scheduled for next Friday at a disabled children's facility over near Community Hospital. These are children who are chair- or bed-bound, many with speaking difficulties as well. The first year we went there, we didn't know quite what to expect, but we found that the children do respond as well as they can, and the staff says they enjoy it. They've invited us back almost every year. Most of our programs are in facilities with older people with a variety of abilities and needs; music touches people even after many other abilities are gone. God made us capable of making music--and capable of responding to music, both as individuals and in groups. It is no accident that the longest book in the Bible is Psalms!