'I try not to believe in God but sometimes things happen in music, in songs, that bring me up short, make me do a double-take... I'm not sure what difference it makes to me, this occasional vision of the Divine in the music I love... I'm not going to listen to stuff like this too often though, just in case.'- novelist Nick Hornby in 31 Songs, Penguin.
Music heard calls forth feeling of depth beyond words; appeals for sight beyond understanding; creates thought beyond knowledge; instills hope beyond longing. It passes through our feeble thoughts and words and translates them into a breath to dance round our heads; on the way, it snatches at our longing and carries it to the heart. God has given us a capacity for music to worship him, and we find it impels our being to acknowledge the truth to which our minds along so easily rest inert: that we are called to purer and higher worship than our capacity. We ache in recognition of the beauty, of the 'more' that we miss, and long for its consummation. Such is the gift; such is the grace of God. For God to give gifts in which we can be content would be a condemnation; rather he gives that which tears into our contentment with the longing for the substance of what we sense in the gift. Such is also the travesty of worshipping music as an satisfying end. In its most sublime in this creation it calls us to look along it to the Lord, the giver, the creator, the source, the sustainer of all things. Yet how can we? It was given by a God purer and higher than we can naturally face. When in Jesus we see him face to face we will be like him. And then our music will be able to flow, along with every form of art and science, no longer with tears of longing but then purified, set apart to him; and it will be perfect. The longing will be over, and the beauty remain. Is longing intrinsic to beauty? Only in this fallen world, for it gives us a glimpse of what should be, to the glory of God. Will not perfection finish it? Ah but in the new creation, each day of eternity will be a new horizon calling forth deeper and purer and higher notes, to resonate to the glory of God and to the Lamb.