Monday, March 9
Read Psalm 95
O come, let us sing to the Lord; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation! (v 1)
Recently I read that the best-selling prescription drug in America in 2014 (worth $6.9 billion to its maker) was Ambilify, an anti-depressant. When I thought about this verse and singing to the rock of our salvation, I wondered if there was a direct correlation. Could it be that when we fail to be joyful and sing to the Lord, we become depressed? I cannot think of a time when participating in music brought sadness to my life. I can only think of times when singing brought me out of sadness or loneliness or fear or frustration or anger or depression.
In Africa, my teacher housemate Mary Nelson and I would sit by candlelight in our living room and sing the vespers service in the evening and feel closer to home.
When I rode in the car with Samwel Umezurumba, a magistrate working in Tanzania, we would sing hymns we both knew from our childhoods — he had learned the songs in an Anglican mission school in Nigeria — and we would both feel happier.
People from many nations joined to sing “The Messiah” at Christmas in Arusha, Tanzania, and the spirit of Christ brought us together far from home.
I needed sleep, but the Joy Folk college singing group came late in the evening to practice for a program. That music gave me new energy.
I memorized new songs while riding my bike on Nebraska country roads when I felt so frustrated that I had to get out of the house.
Paul played the guitar and we sang the “Holden Evening Prayer” by moonlight at Niobrara State Park. It brought peace. I didn’t feel like getting out of bed, but Maria came bouncing into the room, jumped on the bed and said, “Let’s sing a happy song, Mom.” I got up easily.
Shortly before my mother died, we visited her in Minnesota. She didn’t remember me, but she remembered all the words to “Silent Night” and smiled while we sang together.
“Lord, Enter My Soul” the mass choir sang, and I could feel it happening!
Maybe music can’t heal everything, but the Lord works in mysterious ways, and I believe that songs can do marvelous things when they have a message that reaches the heart.
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