“Oh no. My hands are in the air, like I just do not care!”
Music moves you. It can lift you up. It can bring you down. It can take you back to a place in time, invoking sights, sounds and perhaps event scents. At least it does for me.
When I hear “Hey Jude” by the Beatles playing, for a moment I’m 17 again, standing behind a perfume counter in the department store where I worked after school. I can smell the soft fragrance of the then popular romantic cologne “Wind Song.”
Faded photographs, covered now with lines and creases. Tickets torn in half, memories in bits and pieces… “Traces” by Classic IV…how many of you remember that song? I’m really showing my age, aren’t I? Ha! My husband (then boyfriend) and I used to sing it together all the time. It will always hold a special place in my heart.
Then there is the all-time annoying song, “Mocking Bird” by Carly Simon. I never could quite come to like that song. Seems every time I got into the car it was playing. It was one of those songs that would get stuck in your head. Mockingbird, yeah … (Yeah! yeah! yeah! yeah!) Mockingbird now….Everybody have you heard… La, la, la… See what I mean? Oh, why did I have to remember that song!?
The songs of the 70’s and 80’s were some of the best. You can’t argue the point too much there. Why else would today’s artist be making copies?
I think perhaps my favorite songs though are the gospel hymns and spirituals; “Amazing Grace”, “The Old Rugged Cross”, ”Standing on the Promises”, traditional or contemporary versions.
If I had to choose my very favorite three songs of any they would have to be, “In the Garden”, “There is a River” and “Just as I Am.” They hold a special place in my heart.
I guess “In the Garden” is one of the first songs I ever learned to sing. My dad taught it to me when I was little girl. We used to sing it while sitting under the stars on warm summer nights. Written by C. Austin Miles in 1913, the song speaks of quiet time alone with God. It is sometimes titled “I Come to the Garden Alone.” Later, I would literally “come to the garden alone” to pray.
“There is a River” by Jimmy Swaggart, refers to the living water of eternity offered by Christ (John 7:38 and other scriptures.) It holds a special place in my heart, not just because of God’s promises to me, but because it was the last song I ever heard my dad sing. As I was helping my mom clean out his belongings after he died, I stumbled across a tape recording of him singing and playing the guitar. It was that song. Mom didn’t know he had made the recording. How special it was to sit there and hear his voice again.
“Just as I Am” is my all- time favorite song of any genre. It takes me back to the time when I went forward during an altar call and invited Jesus into my heart at the little church I attended a lifetime ago. I stood in the third pew from the back, white knuckled, grasping the pew in front of me for dear life, afraid of what folks would think of me. I just wanted them to stop playing the song. Over and over they played:
Just as I am, without one plea, But that Thy blood was shed for me, And that Thou bid’st me come to Thee, O Lamb of God, I come! I come!
Just as I am, and waiting not. To rid my soul of one dark blot; To Thee whose blood can cleanse each spot, O Lamb of God, I come, I come!
Just as I am, though tossed about, With many a conflict, many a doubt; Fightings within, and fears without, O Lamb of God, I come, I come!
Just as I am, poor, wretched, blind; Sight, riches, healing of the mind; Yes, all I need, in Thee to find, O Lamb of God, I come, I come!
Just as I am, Thou wilt receive, Wilt welcome, pardon, cleanse, relieve; Because Thy promise I believe, O Lamb of God, I come, I come!
Just as I am, Thy love unknown, Has broken every barrier down; Now, to be Thine, yea, Thine alone,O Lamb of God, I come, I come!
Finally, I let go of that pew and stepped out into the aisle. I seemed to have floated down to the altar. I honestly don’t remember walking the aisle. God accepted me just then, as He does now, just as I am, an imperfect person, living in an imperfect world. Yet through His grace, in His salvation offered through my faith in Christ, He doesn’t see my imperfections. That one step of faith out into the aisle began a journey that I haven’t once regretted. I could not have made it through all the trials of life without my faith and God’s grace.
So, yes, “There’s within my heart a melody. Jesus whispers sweet and low. Fear not, I am with thee, peace be still, in all of life’s ebb and flow…Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, sweetest name I know. Feels my every longing, keeps me singing as I go.”
Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank you for the melody. Thank you for the music that invokes memories of bittersweet times gone by and promises of eternity with you. Dear Lord, I lift up the one who is seeking a closer walk with you; the one who is burdened with needs that seem impossible to meet; the one who has just accepted you as their Lord and savior; the one who will be with you shortly. Father you know their names. Place a melody in their hearts. In your Son’s name I pray. Amen.