To make words sing
Is a wonderful thing–
Because in a song
Words last so long.
(“To Make Words Sing” by Langston Hughes)
Music has been one of God’s great provisions for helping me survive when I am weak and hurting.
I am the kind of person who, when a song moves me, likes to listen to it over and over. Words put to music last. They stick with me. They stir up feelings, and since my memory is an emotional one, I can recall the truths easier when a song stores the words in a feeling place in my brain.
Sometimes songs are sermons to me, when my brain is in such a fog from exhaustion or pain that I can’t make sense of the other kind of sermons.
Sometimes songs express the prayers of my heart when I can’t form my own words.
Sometimes songs put shape to the gratitude and praises that are in my heart but are hard to see, fallen as they are between the cracks of my pain or tiredness.
With songs and hymns and spiritual songs, I am given the gift of words when I don’t have my own.
It is hard to remember truth when I’m in pain. But when I listen to words of truth set to music, over and over again, not just the words, but the truth and the feelings that go with the words seep down into the hurting places and really minister to me. And I don’t forget those kinds of words.
When a friend speaks truth to me in my pain, I might bristle, but when truth comes to me in song, I find that my bristles sort of deflate (oops, there I go mixing metaphors again).
I’ve included this quote recently on another post, but it fits here as well:
i hear many people telling me they leave church ‘uplifted,’ but few tell me they leave challenged (to live as Christ asks of them). i try to program music that does both. (comment from Scott Gray on metacatholic’s post, “Muting the Psalms”)
Spiritual music encourages me, challenges me, changes my perspective, stirs my heart, adds feeling to the truths I know. and gives expression to what I feel about and towards God.
Do you have words, which you are especially glad to be able to sing, because the song makes the words last so long?