Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Music of the Spheres

As I was reflecting more on music in worship, I remembered this silly little piece by Steve Martin

I don't believe for a second that atheists have no songs... but there is something inherently "spiritual" or "religious" about music when it is at its best. There are those moment when music takes us outside and beyond ourselves and connects us with that for which there are no words. I remember the first time I herd a good soprano sing Puccini and felt the goosebumps on my back... Gorecki's Sorrowful Songs moved me to tears. When I first heard Edgar Varese's Density 21.5 as a junior high student, it made me hear things in a new way. Julie Miller's Broken Things felt so right after 9/11. My list could go on and on... I have heard so many performances that have opened new windows for me, taken me to places I had never imagined, broken my heart, and healed it, connected me to other people and the world around me, and shown me how isolated and alone I am.

As a performer, that spiritual side of music is even more pronounced. There are those moments when a band or choir or duo melt together and it isn't a group of individuals playing or singing, it is one body in touch with something in the very structure of creation. The performers disappear and all that is there is the music. When that happens, it is communion in the deepest sense.

Which brings me to the tiny bit I have read about string theory - that everything is made of tiny strings which are constantly vibrating (music) and the "pitch" of the vibration determines whether the strings make up matter or energy... At it's deepest level, everything that is, is a song sung by God. And I get to sing and make music along with God.

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