Monday, March 31, 2008

The Power of Music

I was watching The Opry on GAC the other night when they had on a bunch of country artists doing their favorite hymn or gospel song. They also talked about what a role music plays in their faith and as an expression of their faith. I think that's true with all of us. It's really quite interesting what power church music has to make you feel the Spirit. I remember back in my dark days, I was sitting at the YSA branch with Crystal and Kiersten's dad and was so depressed and feeling alone. We were singing "How Firm a Foundation" and I just started to bawl. Now, you guys know me, I'm not a crier, but the words brought such comfort to my mind and heart. Here are some of the verses (some we don't sing-but they are some of the most powerful)

3. Fear not, I am with thee; oh, be not dismayed,
For I am thy God and will still give thee aid.
I’ll strengthen thee, help thee, and cause thee to stand,
Upheld by my righteous, upheld by my righteous,
Upheld by my righteous, omnipotent hand.

4. When through the deep waters I call thee to go,
The rivers of sorrow shall not thee o’erflow,
For I will be with thee, thy troubles to bless,
And sanctify to thee, and sanctify to thee,
And sanctify to thee thy deepest distress.

5. When through fiery trials thy pathway shall lie,
My grace, all sufficient, shall be thy supply.
The flame shall not hurt thee; I only design
Thy dross to consume, thy dross to consume,
Thy dross to consume and thy gold to refine.

7. The soul that on Jesus hath leaned for repose
I will not, I cannot, desert to his foes;
That soul, though all hell should endeavor to shake,
I’ll never, no never, I’ll never, no never,
I’ll never, no never, no never forsake!

Text: Attr. to Robert Keen, ca. 1787.
Music: Attr. to J. Ellis, ca. 1889

What a wonderful song! Even now, I can't sing that 3rd verse without tearing up and sometimes overflowing. When I am down or feeling especially put upon and tested, I sing those verses in my head and I know that my Heavenly Father loves me, he's not going to try me more than I can bear.

Some others that I love: I Stand all Amazed, O Lord My Redeemer (not a hymn but I cry every time I hear it), We'll Bring the World His Truth (love that when the YW and YM sing that medley with As Sisters in Zion), Ye Elders of Israel (love to hear men sing!), The Spirit of God, I am a Child of God, I Believe in Christ, etc, etc, etc.

Someone told me one time that our songs are "boring". I don't see them that way at all. To me, if I can be quiet and listen to the music and the words, that brings me closer to the Spirit and I can hear what I need to hear. When we were in Nauvoo last year watching the Joseph Smith movie ( holy tearjerker Batman!), at the very end, the bagpipes play "Praise to the Man"-man, chills went all over me and the tears began again. By the way, the tune for that song is the unofficial Scottish national anthem called Scotland the Brave. So, if you ever go to the Highland Games and they start playing "Praise to the Man" don't freak out. The bagpipes just make it so much better!

What are your favorite hymns or songs from church? Have a good week everybody!


connie said...

Be Still My Soul comforts me and I love the sound of it. Too many to mention...I love lots of them.

Anonymous said...

I love "How Firm a Foundation" too. I also like "Thy Spirit, Lord, Has Stirred our Souls" and "Lord, Dismiss us with Thy Blessing." You're so right about music being so powerful; certain tunes can soothe us, inspire us, excite us, or even move us to tears. The moment I knew the Church was true was when I was walking a crying, fretful baby in the chapel of the old MB chapel, and I heard the Priesthood singing "We Thank Thee O God for a Prophet." They were singing without any piano or organ, and their voices just pierced my heart.