I do believe that music is one of the greatest gifts God added to His universe. It is hard for me to imagine a world without sound…but even harder for me to imagine it without song.
I think music must be one of those ‘life extra’s’ Archibald Rutledge talks about in his book by the same name.
This is a sweet little book of reveries on the blessings that lie in the little unnecessary things of life. Creation supplies us with just two kinds of things: necessities and extras.
Music might be an “extra blessing” but it is hard for me to imagine a world without music. To wake up in the morning without the sounds of birds singing is unimaginable to me. To never hear the “Hallelujah Chorus” again at Christmas strikes fear and sadness in my heart.
A thought has run through my mind, on numerous occasions, that it must be harder for musicians (I think of all the great composers from past to present) to leave this world for another…to leave a world of constant music and creations of new music behind…to have everything in this world come to a halt filled with silence.
So I have to believe that our eternal home will be filled with music so extraordinaire that we are never without it.
Quinn Caldwell, spiritual author and minister, observed these fascinating facts about nature’s connection to music…similarities and differences.
“Sing” (Quinn Caldwell)
“…with gratitude in your hearts sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to God.” – Colossians 3:12-17
There are about 5,400 animal species that make complex, intentional, repeatable, musical vocalizations. That is, there are about 5,400 species that sing. The majority live in the trees, a few live in the oceans, a very few live underground, but there is one—only one—singing species that lives on the ground: us.
Another thing: humans are the only singing species with a precise and shared sense of rhythm, which is what allows us to sing together. Two birds might sing the same song, but they cannot sing it together.
Another thing: if a roomful of people sings at the same time, they start to breathe at the same time as well. Some studies suggest that if the drumbeat or bass line is strong enough, their hearts will begin to beat together, too. And if we’re singing together and breathing together and our hearts are beating together, then it’s like we’re one body. And you know Whose body it is.
Another thing: all the other species stop singing when danger approaches. But humans sing louder the closer the danger gets. We sing together, and we become large, and we do not back down.
So come racism, and “We Shall Overcome” you.
Come fear, for “It is Well With My Soul.”
Come war, for tonight is your “Silent Night.”
Come death, for “Jesus Christ is Risen Today.”
Come, all ye faithful, and sing.
“Today is my favorite day” Winnie the Pooh
Exerpt from the book: “The Band that Played On: The Extraordinary Story of the Eight Musicians Who Went Down with the Titantic” (Thomas Nelson/2011)
…”I believe the band took the courageous decision to play because of the moral character of their leader, the violinist Wallace Hartley. This musician, who’d previously played on both the Mauretania and the Lusitania, was from the small town of Colne in Lancashire, England, and was raised in the Methodist church. His father was the choirmaster there and responsible for introducing the hymn ‘Nearer, My God, to Thee’ to the congregation.
By all accounts Hartley was a highly principled person and a devout Christian. He’d recently been engaged to a young Christian girl, Maria Robinson, and they planned to marry after he’d completed a few trips on the Titanic. He was personable, cheerful and would always attend church when he was back on land.
There are two interesting comments that he made to colleagues that shed some light on why he behaved as he did. The first was mentioned by a musician on the Celtic called John Carr who had worked with Hartley. I don’t suppose he (Hartley) waited to be sent for, but after finding how dangerous the situation was he probably called his men together and began playing,” said Carr. “ I know he often said that music was a bigger weapon for stopping disorder than anything on earth. He knew the value of the weapon he had, and I think he proved his point.”
The second was said to Ellwand Moody, a musician on the Mauretania, who had served under Hartley. He told a British newspaper; “I remember one day I asked him what he would do if he were ever on a sinking ship and he replied ‘I don’t think I would do better than play ‘Oh God Our Help in Ages Past’ or ‘Nearer, My God, to Thee’.”
So it appears almost certain that Wallace Hartley had contemplated being on a sinking ship and had already decided how he would respond. He believed that music could prevent panic and create calm. He had also chosen his final piece of music.
I didn’t discover any stories from the lives of these musicians that led me to think that they were born with the gene of courage. As with most people who perform heroic acts I suspect they didn’t know what they were made of until the moment came when they had to reveal it. But I also think that without the moral and spiritual caliber of Wallace Hartley, the man to whom they looked for musical guidance, they may not have discovered their inner resources.”