Chronicle: The music of the spheres

It’s been a very satisfying time, playing in the City Band. It’s something I’ve been a part of since I was in high school. Growing up in Coleraine, Minnesota, I was part of three city groups (Coleraine, Bovey and Marble). Performing in these locations was a memorable experience, as was playing in the Amazing Worthington City Band. I had the chance to be part of fabulous music. Do yourself a favor and join the group tonight – you won’t be disappointed.

I guess music has always been a big part of my life. My parents were very involved in music. My mom was the choir director at my home church (she made sure I would sing in the choir when I was old enough – I think it was designed to keep an eye on me… I had to be a handle). She has sung in the Mississippi Melodie Showboat production every year, not to mention other venues like community choirs and solos for life events like weddings and funerals. My dad learned to play guitar on his own and played for many years with a band called Northwoods Opry. My dad was an amazing person who learned to play the harmonica while playing the guitar, learned to play the dulcimer on his own, and wrote songs that he and my mom recorded. Yes, music has been a huge part of my life.

There is a hymn which I adore and which speaks of the “music of the spheres” [from “This Is My Father’s World”]. Music from our spheres of influence around us can have an indelible impact on how our day unfolds. How many times have we needed to hear this song that cheered us up? How many times has a tune or chorus gone through our minds and we can’t get it out of there, only to find out that it sends a message to us? Has it ever been your experience – you are sitting in the sanctuary waiting for the service to start and the organist is playing something that soothes your soul, if only for a moment? Music can have a powerful effect on us.

Paul’s letter to the Ephesians sets the stage for the power of music in our lives. He writes, “Sing and make music with your heart to the Lord” (Ephesians 5: 19b). Music, whether singing, playing an instrument, or listening to a recorded song, provides a remarkable connection between believers’ minds with the Lord and with one another. Songs of worship and praise can spring up in the soul in times of joy and yes, in times of sadness. And here is one more thing to consider – if we believe that God is the creator of everything, then we must also consider that all music has its roots in the divine order.

Certainly, not all music will give glory and praise to God. Still, there is a feeling that music can bring a peace and joy that can only come from melody or harmony. Cell phone ringtones are fabulous places to remember the music celebration. One of my favorite ringtones is “Linus and Lucy”, the famous theme song of the Peanuts gang. It just sends a feeling of youthful joy and being a kid again. Another ringtone of mine is’ Jump ‘by’ 80s rock band Van Halen – only because I like the song’s smooth start. Another ringtone for my phone is the song “How Far Is Heaven” by Los Lonely Boys. It’s a great song with a lively beat that also provides a great message for anyone looking for assurance of the kingdom of God in heaven (and on earth).

Don’t get me wrong, I have a lot of favorite songs that are considered sacred music. “Amazing Grace”, “How Great Thou Art”, “Blessed Assurance” and “Jesus Loves Me” are just a few of the many songs that I cherish. The message of these centuries-old songs of praise is still meaningful, and I cherish every moment that I can listen to them. One of my favorite songs is a trombone solo that I play called “Precious Lord, Take My Hand”. This version has a touch of blues, but instead of knocking you down I think it uplifts you. I also played drums for a praise band and there are a lot of praise songs that I really like. “Lifesong”, “Remind Me Who I Am”, “Every Move I Make” and “Better Is One Day” are just a few examples of this particular genre that I like to listen to.

Maybe you’ll hear a song at tonight’s concert that sends you a message of hope. Join us as we celebrate the divine gift of music!

Daren Flinck pastor of Worthington First United Methodist Church and Adrian United Methodist Church.

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