Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Where do you see Him?

I’ve heard people say they know there’s a God because they’ve seen the Grand Canyon or the vast oceans, or beautiful mountain ranges like the ones we flew over on the way to Vancouver. I know some mothers say there has to be a God because the experience of conceiving and giving birth was simply supernatural. (I notice they don’t say they see God during the middle-of-the-night feedings that seem to go on forever…) And while I’ve experienced most of those wonders of creation, I must say for me, I most feel the presence of the Lord through music.

Any good music does something to my insides; it’s almost like I’m on a roller coaster flying down the first drop. Goose bumps, tears, a catch of my breath … I’ve experienced each as I’ve listened to all kinds of music. That’s probably why it was so hard for me to sing in church after our move. My emotions were right at the surface anyway, so there were times the music at church just put me over the edge. Even now I feel a lump in my throat as I think of the Sundays I barely made it through the choruses.

It’s not just church music, mind you, although I find great solace in hearing and singing the hymns of my childhood. I’m amazed at the variety of music that can turn my heart to the Lord. For example, this weekend I saw a musical at MSU. I wasn’t familiar with the music or the story line for that matter, but several months ago when a friend asked if we’d be interested in going I thought it would be a fun. Besides, Sean loves musicals and I was anxious to get to know these new friends better -- two birds, one stone you know.

We met for dinner before the show and enjoyed trying Mediterranean food; the couple we went with said it was a good place, and the food was pretty good. Let me rephrase: it was excellent Mediterranean food; I just don’t think I’m much of a Mediterranean kind of girl.

Anyway, we had a good conversation at dinner and I felt my goal for the evening had been accomplished. So by the time the overture began and the curtain was raised I was just along for the ride.

Given my love of music you’d think I’d love musicals, but I’ve always thought they were a bit corny. I mean, come on! Who walks around with a full orchestra and lyrics ready to be sung at the perfect moment… I’m the only one I know who thought The Sound of Music was a bit much. How could those children learn and sing Do Re Mi so quickly, and all over town? How did they hear the music? I know Maria had a guitar but I don’t recall her playing it while they all hung from the trees.

Anyway, as I watched and listened to the show I was amazed at the music – how could a Broadway musical put me over the edge like that? I don’t like musicals! But as I sat there all I could think was, “Whoever wrote this was gifted, exceedingly gifted!” The verse from James came to mind: Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows."

So what musical moved me to tears and praise? Wicked: The Untold Story of the Witches of Oz. Yes, I see the irony.

I haven’t seen many Broadway musicals so I can only assume the music in them is good. But this music was magical. The lyrics on two of the songs, paired with the swelling orchestration, literally brought tears to my eyes. (You can hear samples here: I recommend The Wizard and I, Defying Gravity and For Good. Heck, if you’re already there, listen to them all!)

As soon as we got home I downloaded the soundtrack from iTunes and have been listening to my iPod non-stop. I fear I may be turning into a gay man as much as I’m enjoying this musical…

God has not hidden Himself from our view. From the grandness of the trees of the Redwood Forest to the amazing talent given to composers … God can be seen and heard. As Psalm 96:11-13 says,

Let's hear it from Sky,
With Earth joining in,
And a huge round of applause from Sea.

Let Wilderness turn cartwheels,
Animals, come dance,
Put every tree of the forest in the choir—

An extravaganza before God as he comes,
As he comes to set everything right on earth.