How is music the language of the soul?

While serving as pastor of Toms Brook and Mt. Olive United Methodist Churches in Shenandoah County from 1985-1989, I volunteered as a chaplain at the Shenandoah County Memorial Hospital. One Christmas, the volunteer chaplains met for lunch and went Christmas caroling throughout the hospital. When we came to the emergency room, there were only a few people present as we sang, but among them were two people who were sitting in cubicles with the curtains drawn. As we sang, the first person who was sitting in a cubicle with the curtain drawn joined in singing the carols. The other person who was sitting in a cubicle with the curtain drawn did not sing, but from under the curtain, I could see a foot moving in rhythm with the carols. While I never saw their faces, I could see that through the gift of music, the language of the soul was affirmed and proclaimed.

Music is the language of the soul. Universal in its proclamation of the gift of life, music interprets the sacredness of God’s gift of life. This is why the apostle Paul wrote to the Colossians that they should “sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs with thankfulness in your hearts to God.”

Jack Kornfield, in his book, Path with Heart, A Guide Through the Perils and Promises of Spiritual Life, tells of how a tribe in East Africa dates the birth of a child. The child’s birth date is not noted by the day of a child’s physical birth but instead from a song. Aware of her intention to conceive a child, the mother will go by herself to sit alone under a tree. There she sits and listens in silence until she hears the song of her child being sung in her life. She will teach this song to her child’s father and sing this song to her child until the time of physical birth. She will teach this song to the old women and midwives of the village so that throughout labor and birth, the child is welcomed with the song the mother has heard. After the birth of the child, all the villagers learn the song of their new member and sing it to the child when the child falls or is hurt. It is sung in times of triumph or in rituals and initiations. The song becomes part of the marriage ceremony when the child is grown, and at the end of life, his or her loved ones will gather and sing this song for the last time.

Throughout the biblical story, music is the language of the soul. The people of Israel sang to God after Moses led them through the Red Sea. The music of David comforted King Saul’s troubled soul. As Mary prepared herself for the birth of Jesus, she sang the Magnificat, “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.” Angels announced the birth of Jesus to shepherds by singing, “Peace on earth, good will to all people.” The last book of the Bible, Revelation, paints the portrait of eternity as God is worshipped through singing, “Holy, holy, holy, the Lord God the Almighty, who was and is and is to come.”

How is music the language of your soul?

Language of the Soul

by Pastor Marc Brown
October 30, 2022

Accompanying Scriptures: Colossians 3:12-17

Fort Hill United Methodist Church
Order of Worship for October 30, 2022

Scripture Lesson  Colossians 3:12-17

The Good News      “Language of the Soul”

Music                          “Psalm 139” by J. Dishman, “Go Down Moses” arr. Larry Shackley



Closing Music      “Anthem” by Paul Halley

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