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Pinnacle Presbyterian Church

Echoes Blog

Music to Soothe the Soul

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“Music is an eloquent language that allows us to express what is happening around us in many senses, and to reflect the times and the situation in which we live. It is inseparable from our social, political, economic and cultural reality. At an individual level, it also permits us to communicate our emotions, sentiments, and life experiences . . .”  [1]

Think, for a moment, about all the important milestones in your life. Inevitably, music will have played an important role. Whether a baptism, birthday, high school dance, first kiss, party, holiday, wedding, or funeral, the event was made all the more meaningful through the power of music.

“Music is the language of the spirit.
It opens the secret of life: bringing peace, abolishing strife.”

Kahlil Gibran

Think about the times you were consumed in utmost joy. Recall those moments in which you were bereft with sorrow. Often, we rejoice with or take comfort in music during these times. Scientists have learned that when you listen to music that emotionally resonates with you, your brain releases dopamine, a common neurotransmitter that is released in response to rewarding human activity, and is linked to reinforcement and motivation. [2] These findings offer a biological explanation for why music has been such a major part of major emotional events in cultures around the world since the beginning of human history. [3]

 “Music... will help dissolve your perplexities
and purify your character and sensibilities,
and in time of care and sorrow,
will keep a fountain of joy alive in you.”

Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Do you have a “special” song? Is there a singer or group whose music can soothe you?  Are you refreshed by the songs you sing and the music you hear at worship?  Music is an integral part of worship – of life – of our emotional landscape.[4] At these very troubling times, when it seems we have lost our moral compass and the world is upside down, it is a good and beautiful thing to be surrounded in “comfort music,” music that calms and soothes you. Music is one of the most powerful gateways that connect to our spiritual natures. It transports us immediately – beyond the limitations and stresses of our minds and physical bodies – to a higher state of blessed, peace-filled intimacy with God.

May you have peace. May you have music. May your souls be soothed.

“My heart, which is so full to overflowing,
has often been solaced and refreshed
by music when sick and weary.”

Martin Luther

 

[1] “Music and Peace,” by Alba Sanfeliu. A paper presented to the first meeting of the ICTM study group Applied Ethnomusicology, at the Historical and Emerging Approaches to Applied Ethnomusicology Conference in Ljubljana, Slovenia, 9–13 July 2008. http://escolapau.uab.cat/img/programas/musica/music_and_peace.pdf, accessed August 16, 2017.

[2] “Music 'releases mood-enhancing chemical in the brain’”, by Sonya McGilchrist, Health reporter, BBC News. 9 January 2011. http://www.bbc.com/news/health-12135590, accessed August 15, 2017.

[3] “Why Music Makes You Happy,” DNEWS, January 10, 2011. https://www.seeker.com/why-music-makes-you-happy-1765157098.html, accessed August 16, 2017.

[4] “Songs that Soothe the Soul,” by Rev. Lisa Kay C. Smith. Blog written for the First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Morehead KY, Rev. Lisa Smith, Minister. http://www.fccmorehead.org, accessed August 17, 2017.