As I write this I am sitting in a room at a Conference Centre with 3 other amazing female Salvation Army ministers. We are here as part of a leadership development course and have been put in this smaller group completely randomly but, as is often the case, there are good reasons for us to be together. The connection we have felt since our first session has meant that trust has developed quickly and much pain has been shared honestly.
As part of our discussion today we talked about resilience and what brings joy, which can help us face adversity, and discovered that music featured highly for us. So we have escaped to a lounge area where there is an instrument long overdue for tuning, but for our purposes that is not important. We have been singing song after song, covering a variety of vintages, but each with a devotional feel.
No music executives are going to offer us a recording contract any time soon, but this music session is not about anyone else. We are each wrestling with painful incidents we have faced in our lives and recognize a sense of brokenness. Music makes it better, even if we don’t know the words, or we can’t bring ourselves to sing them. Music gives beauty to the moment and helps us to get more clarity and perspective.
Just now, another conference delegate has joined us because he heard our ‘joyful noise’ and wanted to see what was going on. So far almost every selection has brought out a story of significance connected to the song and that has spring-boarded into deeper conversations again. It is a lovely, healing space uniting individuals who have diverse tastes but with a common love of music.
As we choose to leave this moment and prepare for dinner, one of our original four left thanking us for sharing in this time and saying, “This has been good for my soul.” Music has the capacity to do that, devotional music especially. It might have something to do with the words written, or the season or the circumstances around a particular encounter with the melody, or connection to the story of how the song came to be.
I am a firm believer of the healing power of music and how God uses this as a special remedy for the deepest pains we can feel. He gave us the gift of music, after all. The book of Psalms is basically a book of songs that the Israelites would use as part of their temple worship. If you read them you will find a variety of emotions expressed that enabled people to articulate what they felt about the world, or God, or the situation they found themselves in.
I am so grateful for the blessing that this impromptu chorus has brought to me, and the others in various ways this afternoon. We’ve already made plans to ensure that we do it again before our time here is over.
If your soul is heavy and hurting may I encourage you to listen to some devotional music. Google some of you have to, and let God whisper words of meaning, peace and assurance today.