“Sounds like somebody’s got a case of the Mondays”
If you haven’t heard that phrase before, stop reading this and go watch Office Space. If you have heard it, I hope your day so far isn’t nearly as dreadful as any of the characters’ in the movie. So here’s your Metaphysical Monday to cheer you up!
As we discussed and seemed to all agree last week, music has a profound spiritual significance. That significance can be difficult to explain, but it’s not difficult to experience. Why does music weigh so heavily on our souls? Why does it move us toward worship (or at times toward anger or depression)? Scripture hints at ways in which music is linked to our worship experience, such as in the Psalms and in accounts of the early church in Acts. What do these passages say to us about the role of music in our communication with our Creator?
Perhaps our most real feelings can’t be spoken. Perhaps it’s similar to how the Spirit speaks to the Father on our behalf with “groanings which cannot be uttered.” Perhaps in music, we speak things to God that we can’t say without those notes and those rhythms. More importantly, perhaps God speaks through music in ways that He can’t otherwise reach us. This great mystery has spawned innumerable feelings about the spiritual aspect of music and I happen to know of a good collection of opinions on this subject.
Justin St. Vincent has compiled a great book called “The Spiritual Significance of Music” which explores what music means, spiritually, to musicians from a vast array of genres. It’s a compilation of page-long quotes from band dudes and musicians ranging from Ryan Clark to Ravi Shankar to me to Devo. I think it sheds good light on the universal connection that nearly all humans seem to feel toward music. And it completely astounds me to find out that even non-spiritual people realize the spiritual side of music. They know there’s something more, although often they speak in vague terms and can’t seem to put their finger on it. Perhaps they realize that music communicates something to them about the core of who they are.
Perhaps the feelings we associate with music are at the core of what makes us human?