The Beauty Of Music

the-beauty-of-musicA guest post by my husband, Ed Nicholson

Are you a music lover? I have always loved music. In one of my earliest memories, I am sitting in our neighbor’s flower bed singing “Jesus Loves Me, This I Know.” I must have been singing loudly enough for Mrs. Miller to hear me, because she told my mom about it. When I was seven years old, I inherited a clarinet from my brother and I joined my elementary school band. It was a wooden clarinet, not like the cheaper plastic models that are often sold today, and I loved that thing. Even though Benny Goodman’s glory days were drawing to a close back in 1976, I harbored a hope that the instrument would be considered “cool” again someday. That day never came. Chicks just don’t dig clarinet players. Or maybe, I was just a geek. But, at any rate, when I entered middle school, I made the switch from clarinet to guitar and I haven’t looked back.

I have an appreciation for a wide range of musical genres. I like classical, especially pieces from the baroque era, big-band, jazz, country, rock, polka, etc. And it’s not just me – my whole family loves music! I’ll bet yours does, too. It’s common to all cultures. Isn’t it interesting how music seems to permeate the planet?

Our oldest daughter played violin for a while and hopes to get back to it when her life offers her some more leisure time. Our youngest girl can memorize the lyrics to any song after a single hearing. At least it seems she can. She also plays the guitar. Our son plays the piano and is a huge, and I mean huge, movie soundtrack fan. I can always tell when he has hijacked my Pandora account because John Williams, Danny Elfman, and Hans Zimmer stations will pop up in my music feed.

Even Elizabeth, although she is the family member with the least musical talent (love you, hon) is still deeply musical. Whenever we are in public, say at a nice restaurant, and there is music playing, her shoulders will begin moving in a little pattern. As she looks over the menu, her left shoulder will go down as her right goes up. Then, the right one dips and the left one rises. Soon, they are see-sawing back and forth to the beat, and her head begins to bobble about.

“Elizabeth, dear” I’ll say, we are in public!

That only stops the dancing for a few seconds. Especially if they are playing pop tunes from the eighties. I guess you can’t put a tight enough lid on that kind of joy. It will find a way out.

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And that’s the point. Music brings joy.

Especially music offered to God in praise. 

We have been able to attend a couple of old-fashioned “hymn sings” over the last year at a small country church near our home. There is a music leader, a pianist, and a bunch of folks shouting out what number they’d like to sing next from the hymnal. If you’ve never been to one of these hymn sings and you get the opportunity to go, you should. It’s a beautiful, joyful time of worship.

I also love to see my family worship God during our more modern-styled church services. My son, a typical teenager not quite yet at ease in his own skin, will often launch into a sort of “air-drumming for Jesus”  when the music starts. I have tried to gently caution him on not drawing too much attention to himself, but it’s that hard-to-contain joy at work again. He can hardly help it. As for Elizabeth – why she puts on mascara before church, I’ll never know. She regularly sheds tears of joy during worship and ends up looking like a raccoon. Sweet girl. Actually, I’m not much better. I don’t wear mascara, but I do well up with tears at times. Easter worship had me bawling. I was overflowing with joy. Literally.

Some thinkers have wondered why God demands praise. I have read that C.S. Lewis, before his conversion, used to wonder about that. As if God was insecure and needed to be constantly affirmed by His creation. I think Lewis later realized that God demands praise because He is the Summum Bonum – the Highest Good. The Creator, as the Highest Good, must call his creation to worship Him. It’s not much different than a parent telling his child to follow after, to love, to value, to worship that which is true and noble and just and holy. It’s just that in this case, those terms all describe God Himself. What else could He tell us to worship but Himself? It isn’t as if love or loyalty is hiding out in space behind Jupiter. No. All of the truly good things that exist have their existence in God Himself. He, as the Highest Good, has the right to lovingly direct our thoughts back toward Himself. It’s simply proper–and it’s powerful. When you combine the power of this proper worship of man for the Highest Good with the power of music, things can get seriously intense.

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I have no doubt that this intense worship blesses the Lord. Surely, He is blessed with our praises. But God is a sufficient being. He does not need our praises to fill up some lack in Himself. God could exist just as blissfully as He has from eternity past without the feeble praises of lowly humans like me. After all, each of us is a broken instrument, like this old violin. But maybe He knows what those offerings of praise will do to us when we lift them up.  I’m not suggesting that we praise God because of what we will get out of it, but there is an undeniable benefit to us when we worship Him. There is just something about worship that aligns us with what is holy, and we need that alignment again and again.

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Look at these scripture references to songs of praise, and while you do, consider what I said about His sufficiency. God may love these songs, but He does not need them. I am suggesting that we love these songs and we need them.

Psalm 33:3 Sing to him a new song; play skillfully with a loud noise.

Psalm 40:3 And he has put a new song in my mouth, even praise to our God: many …

Psalm 96:1 O sing to the LORD a new song: sing to the LORD, all the earth.

Psalm 98:1 O sing to the LORD a new song; for he has done marvelous things: …

Psalm 144:9 I will sing a new song to you, O God: on a psaltery and an instrument …

Psalm 149:1 Praise you the LORD. Sing to the LORD a new song, and his praise …

Isaiah 42:10 Sing to the LORD a new song, and his praise from the end of the earth, …

Revelation 5:9 And they sung a new song, saying, You are worthy to take the book, …

God chose to make us in such a way that we learn through our senses, reasoning, and even emotions. Music, especially singing, involves all of these, and worshipping through music strikes a deep place in the human heart. God gives us a new song to sing back to Him so that we can understand our proper place and His ultimate goodness. Worship allows us to partake in that overflowing joy that can’t, and shouldn’t, be contained.

Can God be whole without that receiving that praise?
Yes.

Can you be whole without offering it?

5/21/2014 Eddie Nicholson

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Sharing at:

* Encouragement Homemakers * Three Word Wednesday * Life Through the Lens * Tell His Story *

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19 thoughts on “The Beauty Of Music

  1. Beth (@SimplyBeth3)

    I really, really do adore you two. This is powerfully beautiful, Ed. The words and images are beautiful. I have such a love for music. I love the passion my youngest son has for music. He plays the classical guitar and I could sit and listen to him for hours. I’m like Elizabeth and my body just naturally starts moving to the music playing. And when it worship music . . . oh my. Never did I imagine the joy I’d find when given the opportunity to praise Him through song. I appreciated the reminder that God doesn’t need our praise . . . He loves our praise because He is witnessing the joy found in Him fill our hearts when we do. Beautiful! Beautiful!

    Reply
    1. Elizabeth Post author

      Beth,

      Ed here. Elizabeth took these pictures outside with the violin on a tablecloth spread out on our porch swing. The lighting was really nice, I think. And music – yes! What a tremendous gift from God for us! Some of my, no MOST of my, closest moments with God have been during worship times. I like to imagine what it’s going to be like in heaven, before His throne with people from every tribe and nation, no more war, no more strife, no more confusion, and all of us singing that new song with one voice to the King of Kings. Bring it!

      YOU are such a blessing! I appreciate you for taking the time to read this and comment.
      Thanks,
      Ed

      Reply
    2. Ashlee

      I love what you wrote about music and worshipping God. I love music also, it is comforting and inspiring to me! I love listening to music and also worshipping God through music!

      Reply
      1. Elizabeth Post author

        Ashlee,

        Ed here. It’s amazing to me to think of how bland life _could_ have been. We don’t need color. We don’t need warm breezes. We don’t need music! But God has really blessed us with so much. Thank you for your kind words – YOU are an inspiration to many people.

        Blessings,
        Ed

        Reply
  2. Maria @ The Good Life

    I really love this post. I love music of all kinds (unless it is degrading to women… sorry). But I especially love workship music. While I love the contemporary style, I find that the hymnal more traditional type makes me feel more connected with God; it is like a channel without interference.

    Reply
    1. Elizabeth Post author

      Maria,

      Ed here. I agree with you! We can all do without music that puts women down! It’s cheap and it makes a mockery of God’s image in women and His gift of music. Like you, I also love the older hymns. They got into my spirit when I was a young boy growing up Methodist, and they have been like a beacon in me pointing to God ever since. That’s a cool word-picture you wrote – “a channel without interference.” I like that!

      Blessings,
      Ed

      Reply
    1. Elizabeth Post author

      Jedidja,

      Ed here. I am the same way. There are times when nothing else can settle me but music.

      Thanks for reading and commenting!
      Ed

      Reply
  3. Natasha in Oz

    Hear, Hear to the power of music! I so agree with you and as the mother of a cellist and double bass player I am particularly fond of the gorgeous pictures too. My eldest daughter is graduating from school this year and is writing a final paper for her music class on the power of music therapy for dementia patients. It really is a truly incredible medium and gift from God.

    Best wishes,
    Natasha in Oz

    Reply
    1. Elizabeth Post author

      Natasha,

      Ed here. Wonderful that you have musical children! Yes – music is powerful – and I find music therapy fascinating. Have you or your eldest daughter read the book “Musicophilia” by Oliver Sacks? If not, you may want to check it out. Simply amazing stories of people with various brain disorders who react powerfully to music. I really enjoyed the book. All of our senses can enjoy His gifts, but God has really blessed us with music!

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting.
      Blessings,
      Ed

      Reply
      1. Natasha in Oz

        I will definitely recommend that book to my daughter, Ed. Thanks so much for letting me know about it.

        Thanks also to you and Elizabeth for sharing this post at my Tuesday Tune linky party.

        Best wishes and I hope you enjoy the rest of the week.
        Natasha in Oz

        Reply
  4. Lisa @ FSL

    This is a fantastic post… I really enjoyed your voice Ed! I absolutely love music. Matter-of-fact, it is how I keep my timeline in order, I remember specific events in my life with the music that was important to me at the time. Love this post. Thanks for linking it to Life Through the Lens.

    Reply
    1. Elizabeth Post author

      Lisa,

      Ed here. Thank YOU for taking the time to read and comment! Music has been a constant companion for me, too. Thank God for His blessings!

      Ed

      Reply
  5. Natasha

    Music is like the blood running through my veins. I can not imagine my life without it and especially without worshipping and praising my Lord with it. It is my companion through many things in my life. The Lord has spoken to me several times through a song. Stopping by from Tell His Story. Wonderful post! Blessings xxx

    Reply
    1. Elizabeth Post author

      Natasha,

      Ed here – yes! I am the same way with music. It has been a constant friend through life as far back as I can remember. Thank you for taking the time to read and comment!

      Best,
      Ed

      Reply
  6. Roxy

    Hello Ed, I really enjoyed this post very much, I think you and your darling wife have a co-blog here!
    I like this and it gives the whole blog a different approach and it is really nice of her to share it!
    Well, I heard you did help design it! Just letting you know I have featured this post for the next weeks Party!
    No Awards just a big thank you!
    Blessings to your whole family, Roxy

    Reply
    1. Elizabeth Post author

      Roxy,

      Ed here. Thanks – BIG THANKS – for the feature. It blesses me so much that folks have stopped by to read this and comment. I love music so much and that makes me love God so much more for the gift.

      If you would have asked me a year ago if I would be interested in helping Elizabeth with a blog, I would have just stared blankly at you. I wasn’t really sure what blogging was all about. It has given us something to work on together, and that has been good for our marriage. Elizabeth says that in 26 years we have often worked side-by-side, but on parallel tracks. Now, we have a project that puts us both on the same track.

      Blessings,
      Ed

      Reply
  7. Heather :) :) :)

    OH, your blog is absolutely delightful. I actually found your blog via The Good Life Girl blog…and I found her through a feature in Mary Jane’s Farm magazine…about all things farmgirl related.. In any case, I had no idea you also have an Etsy shop with photos. They’re fabulous 🙂 🙂 My friend Cecilia is helping me set up a shop for my photos, too 🙂 🙂

    In any case, I really enjoyed this post as all…and it’s something I actually do on a daily basis when I’m taking photographs…finding something in the ordinary day to day of life 🙂 🙂

    Love and hugs from the ocean shores of California,

    Heather 🙂

    Reply
    1. Elizabeth Post author

      Heather,
      I’m glad you stopped by to chat! I love the Good Life Girl’s blog. She’s inspiring. I’ll have to check out Mary Jane’s Farm.

      Good luck with your Etsy shop! It’s very fun!

      Have a beautiful day,
      Elizabeth

      Reply

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