Tag: Christmas music

Hidden Requirement for the Faith Journey

PREPARATION

Songs have a way of touching us in profound ways at the most critical times. Truth is, you have a playlist of songs that reflect your life journey. Not limited to any one genre, these songs reveal a smorgasbord perspective on where we’ve been and where we are now.

When the lyrics and melody find synergy–when the heart is engaged by the message and captivated by the melody, memories are forged–time seems to stand still. Life is changed! Just the opposite can also happen: we experience a dramatic time-stopping event and a background song becomes a memory-trigger for the rest of our lives.

Either way, music helps describe who we are and where we are along the journey.

For years now, “Because He Lives” has had a direct connection to a second touch time in my life. When I hear the song I feel that touch. When “Victory in Jesus” is sung, I relive the loss and grief I felt at my dad’s funeral. And, I still remember that winter night outside of Searcy, Arkansas, when I asked Lyn to be my wife and the Righteous Brothers were singing “Unchained Melody.” Time stood still.

Our playlist grows with age and is a window to the soul. So, where are you on your spiritual journey? Listen to your music for a clue.

INSPIRATION

You have probably read this story before. I am using it with permission from John T. Oaks. Here he shares his experience with a singing sparrow at Starbucks.

It was chilly in Manhattan but warm inside the Starbucks shop on 51st Street and Broadway, just a skip up from Times Square. Early November weather in New York City holds only the slightest hint of the bitter chill of late December and January, but it’s enough to send the masses crowding indoors to vie for available space and warmth.

For a musician, it’s the most lucrative Starbucks location in the world, I’m told; consequently, the tips can be substantial if you play your tunes right. Apparently, we were striking all the right chords that night because our basket was almost overflowing.

It was a fun, low-pressure gig. I was playing keyboard and singing backup for my friend who added rhythm with an arsenal of percussion instruments. We mostly did pop songs from the ’40s to the ’90s with a few original tunes thrown in.

During our emotional rendition of the classic, “If You Don’t Know Me by Now,” I noticed a lady sitting in one of the lounge chairs across from me. She was swaying to the beat and singing along.

After the tune was over, she approached me. “I apologize for singing along on that song. Did it bother you?” she asked.

“No,” I replied. “We love it when the audience joins in. Would you like to sing up front on the next selection?”

To my delight, she accepted my invitation.

”You choose,” I said. “What are you in the mood to sing?”

“Well, do you know any hymns?”

 This woman didn’t know who she was dealing with. I cut my teeth on hymns. Before I was even born, I was going to church. I gave our guest singer a knowing look.

“Name one.”

“Oh, I don’t know. There are so many good ones. You pick one.”

“Okay,” I replied. “How about ‘His Eye Is on the Sparrow‘?”

My new friend was silent, her eyes averted. Then she fixed her eyes on mine again and said, “Yeah. Let’s do that one.”

She slowly nodded her head, put down her purse, straightened her jacket and faced the center of the shop. With my two-bar setup, she began to sing.

Why should I be discouraged? 
Why should the shadows come?

The audience of coffee drinkers was transfixed. Even the gurgling noises of the cappuccino machine ceased as the employees stopped what they were doing to listen. The song rose to its conclusion.

I sing because I’m happy;
I sing because I’m free.
For His eye is on the sparrow,
And I know He watches me.

When the last note was sung, the applause crescendoed to a deafening roar that would have rivaled a sold-out crowd at Carnegie Hall.

Embarrassed, the woman tried to shout over the din, “Oh, y’all go back to your coffee! 
I didn’t come in here to do a concert! I just came in here to get somethin’ to drink, just like you!”

But the ovation continued. I embraced my new friend. “You, my dear, have made my whole year! That was beautiful!”

“Well, it’s funny that you picked that particular hymn,” she said.

“Why is that?”

“Well,” she hesitated again, “that was my daughter’s favorite song.”

“Really!” I exclaimed.

“Yes,” she said, and then grabbed my hands. By this time, the applause had subsided and it was business as usual. “She was 16. She died of a brain tumor last week. I’m gonna be okay. I’ve just got to keep trusting the Lord and singing his songs.” She picked up her bag was gone.

Copyright © by John Thomas Oaks, Caliora Music Publishing, ASCAP
For more information, visit www.johnthomasoaks.com

MOTIVATION

Whether you like it or not, your collection of songs reflects and/or empowers your faith journey. Review your songs this week. Listen again to your favorites; go beyond Christmas songs—all songs.

Identify 12 songs that resonate with your soul. Jot down reflections about each song and describe why each one holds meaning and memories for you.

Remember, music is like an open chat room to your soul and a link to your faith. So, what do your 12 songs say about you?

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December 11, 2011 | 0 Comments More