Tuesday, June 13, 2017

"Singer of Songs"

Do you remember the song, “Singer of Songs,” written and sung by Johnny Cash?  I have it on what I call my “traveling music” CD and play it often when I’m on the road, along with Woody Nelson’s “On the Road Again,” and Bing Cosby’s version of “Don’t Fence Me In.”    That CD also includes Woody Guthrie’s “This Land Is Your Land,” and “America, the Beautiful,” and many others.  I love to listen to my traveling music, for I think Plato long ago stated the truth when he wrote, “Music is a moral law.  It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and charm and gaiety to life and to everything.”  And when words are added to the music—when a song is born—the power of the music and the power of the word can become a profound message.  Christian hymns speak a message that have touched the souls of many.  Most songs, religious or secular,  speak a message that speaks to our depths.  This messaging seems to reach us in ways that other forms of communicating do not.  Leonardo da Vinci said, “Painting is poetry that is seen rather than felt, and poetry is painting that is felt rather than seen.”  Researchers have suggested that a song actually facilitates biological changes in the heart rate and affects the blood flow in the brain.  In Plato’s words, music and song give “wings to the mind, and flight to the imagination,” where we both see, feel (emotionally, spiritually, even physically) and we know and we find a meaning in our deepest beings.

I’m not a savior, and I’m not a saint.
The man with the answers I certainly ain’t.
I wouldn’t tell you what’s right or what’s wrong.
I’m just a singer of songs.

The Psalmists of the Old Testament sang their poetry accompanied by the lyre and the flute.  Even the Old Testament prophets seem to sing out their words to a music from another realm.  They were all singers of songs—and I’m thinking this morning that we are all meant to be singers of songs.

But I can take you for walk along a little country stream.
I can make you see through lovers’ eyes and understand their dreams.
I can help you hear a baby’s laugh and feel the joy it brings.
Yes, I can do it with the songs I sing.
I’m not a prophet, and I’m not a priest.
I’m not a wise man who’s come from the East.
I wouldn’t tell you what’s right or what’s wrong.
I’m just a singer of songs.

Our son, Paul--A Singer of Songs

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