This morning I went for a run in the rain. In the arid Southwest, rain is scarce, especially of late. Beyond that, running in the rain has always been spiritual for me. Perhaps some ancient part of me feels baptized or washed away of sin. Perhaps its just the sense of freedom as drivers give me strange looks. In any case, as I ran along, it seemed most appropriate for “The Hallelujah Chorus” of Handel’s Messiah to play on my IPod.
My spirit has long been moved by great art. But music in particular seems to reach my soul. And so music for me is sacred.
For most of us, when we think of sacred music, perhaps Pavoratti singing “Ave Maria” comes to mind. Perhaps you think of a favorite hymn. And indeed on my list of favorite pieces of sacred music are several hymns. But other pieces of music touch my spirit just a strongly as a great hymn. Indeed my spirit soars when I hear Perry Como (not Pavoratti!) sing “Ave Maria”. But my spirit also soars when I hear John Denver sing “Looking for Space”, a song that captures better than an other the struggles of my own journey. I am deeply moved spiritually when I hear Ennio Morricone lead and orchestra in his music from The Mission.
Music bypasses all my doubts, all my questions, all my angers with organized religion, and can give me a strong sense of God’s presence in my life. It is not ideas or theologies or sermons that move me to tears. It is music. When I feel spiritually drained, I am not renewed by reading the Bible or even praying. I am renewed by music.
Here then are a few pieces of favorite music with links to you-tube where available. I invite you to come up with your own list. Feel free to post a link as a comment.
“Looking for Space” by John Denver http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iPHWzE8rLpA
“Amazing Grace”. Any of us who have been healed from addiction can relate to this hymn. While I am often moved by bagpipes playing this, I find Judy Collins to sing it better than anyone. After all, she’s been there. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u5e6IN_YbwM&feature=related
“Hallelujah Chorus” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S4BWhvIlFVE
“You Are Near” by Dan Schutte
“Bless This House” as sung by Perry Como
“On Earth as It Is in Heaven” from The Mission by Ennio Morricone http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iV0gKStlxnI&feature=related
Reflection: What role has music played on your spiritual journey?