Making Music with the Lord

By Fr. Mike Boutin

Sing to the LORD a new song;  sing to the LORD, all the earth. Sing to the LORD, praise his name; proclaim his salvation day after day. (Psalm 96:1-2)

The ecumenical prayer community of Taize, in France has written some beautiful and very singable music for multi-language groups. Listen and pray with them.

Music is one of the best ways for me to pray.  My I-Tunes shuffle is filled with the Spirit, I think!  I like to just let it play while I'm working, and allow the random words and melodies to bring me to a moment of prayer in the midst of the busyness of my life.

My musical tastes are pretty broad: classical, jazz, Broadway, pop, world music, Christian, rock...really a little bit of everything...and in it all, God speaks pretty clearly if I bother to listen.

Music speaks at a profound level...there's something so primal about music...it's the very breath of God in our lungs...

We sing when we're sad....when we're happy....when we grieve and when we celebrate...and sometimes, when words are impossible, music touches the heart and soul in a way that the spoken word simply cannot...

Some songs mark time for me. "Lift High the Cross" always brings me back to my brother's funeral and the tragedy of the death of a young man of 20 from cancer... and the pain in our hearts that is never silenced but finds consolation in the power of the cross.

Some songs remind me of love found and lost, of beautiful sunrises and poignant sunsets, and some music reminds me of vacations and travel and memories that bring a smile to my lips and an oasis of peace in the midst of emails and phone calls and appointments.

But that's just the act of listening to music....

For me, God is most found in the act of making music. Now it helps that I'm a musician, I suppose. For me, playing the piano is still the most profoundly spiritual reality of my life. God and I are most at one when I play the piano and no one else is listening....

But there's something about making music....about singing or playing an instrument or writing music...being actively involved in the musical endeavor, that connects our minds and heart to the creative energy of our God.  When we make music, we create beauty out of nothingness, in the same way our God, out of love, created us and our world...

For a moment, we encounter the Divine and as we sing and play and compose, we participate in the creative work of the Father in creation. Sing to the Lord a new song! Sing to the Lord, bless God's name!

Now sing or play your prayer to God....and don't worry if you don't have a good voice...God knows what He gave you!

 

Father Mike Boutin is the co-pastor of the Church of the Blessed Sacrament, Walpole, MA, and travels widely, leading pilgrimages throughout the world to various Catholic religious sites. He is a frequent speaker on liturgy, music, spirituality, and pastoral ministry.