I’ve just come in from a morning working in the garden. Tired, but content, I reached down and picked up a book too long set aside. My eyes fell upon a passage I just really needed to share, and one that is so eloquent and to the point of my journey that I simultaneously feel joy in its discovery, peace in its meaning, and envy that I didn’t write it myself.
Because of all that, I share it here with you all:
The body remembers shared music and sound long after the mind may be dimmed. …sound, pitch, and rhythm…All of these things are in what human beings do in our working, our playing, and our solemn occasions of grieving or rejoicing. Whether around campfires, in fields of harvest, or in temples and churches, the communal act of singing and listening to music has formed and expressed deep human emotions. Such emotions are not simply passing feelings; they are part of having a sense of being in the world. If music is the language of the soul made audible, then human voices conjoined in community are primary instruments of the soul, and thus a medium of expressing what goes beyond the immediate, commonsense world. … It is as though music gifts us with a lasting sense of the way the world feels. … The act of singing, praise, lament, thanksgiving, or prayer to God goes beyond the surface of the words and beyond the passing sound of the voices. Singing and hearnig music that expresses human life before the divine confers a special dignity on the singers and the hearers. If the words and the musical forms are adequate to the mystery of being human–to suffering and joy–then the sound itself becomes a medium of formation and transformation. Music is not simply an ornament of something already understood in words. Rather, ordered sound (music) mediates the world to our senses and animates–literally, ensouls–those who enter it deeply.
From A Song to Sing, A Life to Live, by Don & Emily Saliers.