Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Sound Becomes a Song

Somewhere in a burst of glory,
sound becomes a song.
I am bound to tell the story;
that’s where I belong.
Paul Simon, “That’s Where I Belong”
on You’re the One (2000)

I admire those who can write a song. A lyric. A poem. A melody.

I admire the good work of others. It is my job to get that good work in front of others for the glory of God in public worship. But I admire good song-writing way beyond the narrow confines of my job. That’s why I am a Paul Simon fan, and when I first heard this opening cut of his album from 2000, I was drawn right into the entire disc. Is it his best work or his finest album? I don’t really care. He says in these opening lines what he is about. And he grabs me with the mystery of a song-writer’s craft. And the power of a song.

Harnessed to the service of God, the mystery and power of song-writing can and often does go way beyond C. S. Lewis’s critique of hymns as “fifth-rate poetry set to fourth-rate music.”

When in our music God is glorified,
and adoration leaves no room for pride,
it is as though the whole creation cried,

Fred Pratt Green, 1971
© 1972 Hope Publishing Co.

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