Monday, January 26, 2015

Then Sings My Soul

“If you was hit by a truck and you was lying out there in that gutter dying, and you had time to sing one song. Huh? One song that people would remember before you're dirt. One song that would let God know how you felt about your time here on Earth. One song that would sum you up. You tellin' me that's the song you'd sing?” (Walk the Line)

It’s a heavy silence that spills into the room.  From floor to rafters four walls swell with the substance of the question.  Words fill and unexpectedly weight the air with meaning.  

What song are you singing?  

I draw in a breath of the deepness, fill my lungs with gravity.

What song am I singing?  What story am I telling?  Do the drumbeats of the heart within my human chest punctuate a melody spinning life and meaning or merely the fleeting strains of the Fall, of mortality?

It is a question long pondered by songwriters, musicians, and other artists whose dreams, stories, and struggles have painted pictures on the silence.

 “I hear the train a comin'
It's rolling round the bend
And I ain't seen the sunshine since I don't know when,
I'm stuck in Folsom prison, and time keeps draggin' on
But that train keeps a rollin' on down to San Antone.” (Johnny Cash)

 “How does it feel
To be on your own
With no direction home
Like a complete unknown
                            Like a rolling stone?”  (Bob Dylan)  

These wanderings are not new to the human race.  For centuries, we have sought out our existence, asked questions of the stars, striven to find meaning and order within in a world bearing a tremendous burden of pain and brokenness.  Some would say that is all songs are, simply stories.  But is that all there really is?  Are our life’s notes mere primal attempts to make sense of the nothingness, of a vast unexplainable universe that cares nothing for our pain?

Or do we weave notes of love and grace inked by the truth within the existence of music, the reality behind the hollow echo.

“My song is love unknown,
My Savior’s love for me.
Love to the loveless shown,
                                       That they might lovely be.”  (Samuel Crossman)   

Each day of our lives marks another movement in the creation of our song.  Words, lyrics, notes, harmonies, discord, repetition, and rhythms—all are bound up to create the music of a soul singing either life or death.  Whether we are aware of it or not, each human heart sings a song to those it meets, telling a story bound up by the notes and lines on a face, the tune of the words spoken, and the truths held within the soul.  

The only question then, is what sort of song are we singing?

Do your lyrics proclaim the goodness of a God whose eye never closed on Israel and whose sleepless love is extended to you?

Do the drumbeats that tremble the foundation of your world reveal only fear, or a trust in Him who cannot be shaken?

Do your movements display the awesome might and the indescribable grace that crushes the fetters of death and declares freedom for the captive?

Does the hollowness of your broken heart become an instrument of resonance, a hollow space across which the strings of God’s hand may still draw beauty from what has been wounded?

This road is a long and winding sheet—crescendos of notes that climb to mountain peaks and struggles of solitary solos in which we barely have the strength to play at all.  But for such a time as we’ve been given there is a soul-starved audience before us, one that desperately needs the music we bear.

What song would you sing the wanderer, who is lost and far from home?

What piece would you play the troubled heart, whose wounds still fester and bite?

What love could you offer the forgotten, the widow, the orphan, the outcast?

What life could you sing for the dying, whose years bleed out upon the ground?

From the first notes of life to the silence of the grave, we are all singing something, and it isn’t a thing madeto be paused or abandoned.

But how can one sing a song that saves unless he has first learned it from the Composer?  His song cannot reach others with anything less than this own bare humanness until he has sought out the Master Musician whose sacrifice alone provides the correct time and key.

When we allow the Lord to guide our voices and our hands, then we become both a pupil of his music and a bearer of its light to others.  And if we study His voice, then though a thousand competing songs sound in our ears, we will be equipped to make out His own.

There is no dissonant dirge of the Enemy nor false lyric of lies that is powerful enough to drown the symphony of Christ’s victory.  And the songs we choose to sing on this earth may be part of the restoration movement if only we will follow the true Composer.

Heartbeat upon drumbeat.
Breath over strings.

These are not things that we can save.  We either spend them or we lose them until we’re lying in our graves (Erin Hanson)

What song will you choose to sing?
“He put a new song in my mouth,
 a song of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear,
 and put their trust in the Lord.”  (Psalm 40:3)    

All work subject to copyright by the author.  Use by permission only.  2015.  
Images via:  Etsy, Buzzfeed,