Just the Right Song on a Rainy Day…

I have been extremely blessed with the humbling honor to partner with the Lord in His work in a vast variety of cultures and contexts. I don’t ever take this privilege lightly, and because of that I always try and soak in as much of the experience of being in an unfamiliar context as possible. I am always looking and observing things with an intentional awareness and often chronicle my observations in my mind and at times, in my personal journal. This has been especially true in any international context the Lord has brought me to.  I of course see that there are clear differences in every culture.  Differences that I love because they allow me to see a different side of God. We are created in His image, and I believe that each culture expresses something unique of God’s image that I might not see in my own culture. And while all this is true, there are also some things that seem to exist in every culture.  Things, that through time and observation one could deduce are just universally a part of the human experience.  Some of these things are obvious. Things like family, relationships, the need to commune with other people, the desire to work and be a productive person, and of course, being sinners separated from God in need of the redemption of Jesus are some things that immediately come to mind.

I believe that there are however, other universal truths of the human experience that are more subtle but just as ubiquitous. One of those truths, one of those realities is music. Music is a part of every culture I have ever been exposed to, every people group I have ever been around, and every person, in one way or another, has some type of relational experience with music. Even those who aren’t the typical artsy type of people, or may even say that they aren’t that into music cannot deny that in some way it has had a presence in their lives. Music is something that I believe is just part of our DNA, or make-up as human beings. Even in places that have no exposure to modern technology or have instruments as we know them you will find people in song; people affected by music. Now if you are honest with yourself about music in your own life, you are at least in spirit, nodding in agreement right now. But there is another place we need to journey towards in this conversation about music…A place that is just as equally undeniable…and that is the power of music.

Now this is where the conversation can go into so many directions…especially if you’re having it with musicians. If you are taking about changing the world, ushering in God’s presence, getting people excited to celebrate a momentous occasion like a wedding, then people tend to jump on board in agreement that music is something beyond mere sound, but a power that resonates within our very DNA…A real thing that can be triggered and create emotions of passion, unified purpose, excitement and yes even the manifest presence of the Holy Spirit. But if you question many people these days about their choice of music, and the potential demonic influence on their lives, or the simple fact that it will feed the fruit of the flesh in a powerful way, many people don’t want to hear it and they will say at those times something like: “Dude it’s just music…lighten up.” Call me a cynic, but to me that seems to be, what I will simply call a disconnect of convenience going on there. But  maybe digging into that disconnect will someday be another blog.

There is simply no denying the power of music. In fact we even see it in the Scriptures, when King Saul was being tormented by an evil spirit that God sent to him, it says in I Samuel 16:23 that whenever the spirit from God troubled Saul, David would pick up his lyre and play, and Saul would then be relieved, feel better, and the evil spirit would leave him. Now of course we could get into a conversation about Sovereignty and many other type of topics here, but without running down a bunch of theological rabbit trails, the power of music is clearly shown here. If you are sitting there reading this thinking something like: “I’m not so sure about that.” Let’s just look at it from a more simplistic approach…

Have you ever had those days when the weather is so good it just makes you want to drive in your car with the windows down, with a great upbeat song playing on your stereo? Yeah…me too. Now in that moment would you want to put on some sad melancholy song instead? No of course not. But the question is why? And the answer is because it would potentially ruin the mood…be a kill joy so to speak. In that moment you want a song that is going to enhance the mood the day, weather and everything else is dictating. Same could be said about the type of music you want at wedding that is going to get everyone out onto the dance floor… If the DJ decided to put on some folky poetic song about the political change needed in the Middle East, again it would have the opposite affect rather than the desired one. The point here is that music can and does affect us. Now I will take it to a more personal place…

There are also those times when we feel down, are going through a depressing season or maybe are just plain exhausted, and we want music that is also fitting for that. Now for me personally, I find these times to be the most interesting musically speaking. I say that because, when we are down, tired, exhausted or whatever, we don’t want to enhance that as that just makes us feel worse. But yet, trying to put on some “get the party started” Hip-Hop track just doesn’t seem to do the trick either. So if we are wanting to listen to some music to sooth our souls, we often look for something different…

And for me, lately I have been finding an interesting comfort in slow rainy day melancholy type jazz. And the affect it has had on me has been a desired one. I will try to briefly explain. I grew up with Jazz to some degree and have always loved the expressive improvisation of emotion that is emoted through the notes being played on instruments by Jazz musicians. But some songs, at least in my experience, have this powerful ability to be that soothing almost depressing jazz one can listen to when they themselves are gloomy, discouraged, stressed-out, exhausted or fill in your own blank, and yet the very music being expressed in the same emotions actually has this  unexplainable ability to make you feel better…less tired…encouraged…relaxed and less stressed. I truly believe that this is a rare thing, and an even rarer gift to do musically. One such song that I have really found this in lately is Miles Davis and John Coltrane’s: Kind of Blue… Not sure it will have the same effect on you, but for me it is like that young shepherd boy comes and picks up his lyre and plays some pacifying yet cool song allowing me to be relieved, feel better and experience some momentary solace through God’s gift of music…

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One thought on “Just the Right Song on a Rainy Day…

  1. it is soothing and relaxing to listen to jazz. when i was in florida i went to jacksonville and i was listining to jazz for the first time. i found out that i waa s in a trance and i was the best feelin ever!

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