Joyful Noise

April 25, 2021 by  
Filed under Christian Life, Family Focus

By Jane Thornton –

I hate exercise. People keep promising me a surge of pheromones after a workout. However, after I’ve made my quivering, jelly muscles scream for half an hour, the only part of me that feels better is my conscience. One thing makes the chore bearable—music.

This week, as I broke my eighteen-month exercise hiatus, I tuned my iPod to Soaring Favorites. Jackhammering my elbows and heel toeing my feet in a speed walk, ears plugged, I belted out Unchained Melody. A few barks, perhaps even whines, from the backyards I passed filtered in beneath the high notes, but I buried my awareness of them in the joyful power of the song. Just like the music enabled me to stuff my panting breath and stiff joints into my subconscious.

Other emotions wake to the call of music. A Facebook friend recently mentioned Taps played at a funeral. I was transported to my father’s graveside with the bugle’s clarion cry echoing in my heart. Tears of nostalgia and pride brim. Daddy’s love hugs me from beyond.

A tune will make me cry for someone else’s grief, as well. Add a melody to words, and they become a haunting tie to common sorrows. Songs have shared the pain of death, abuse, loneliness, and heartache—arousing empathy as nothing else can do.

Lyrics express so much, but a lingering note or a pounding beat sinks the words into our souls, making them resonate. Not only can I love with The Righteous Brothers and mourn with Stephen Curtis Chapman, but I can slash tires with Carrie Underwood and feel groovy with Simon and Garfunkel.

Often the music overrides the language. Several years ago, my kids—ages eight and five—and I serenaded ourselves as we drove down the road. We rolled along singing “He is exalted, the King is exalted on high.” We were obviously all on the same emotional track as we smiled and swayed. I paused a moment, and Matt’s childish, clear voice rang out, “He is exhausted, the King is exhausted on high.” I wonder why his young mind thought fatigue was a condition worthy of praise and celebration.

Honor does belong to musicians who share their gift with us, allowing us to express feelings we could never articulate through words alone, allowing us to experience emotion more fully than mere verbs and nouns permit.

The same joyous circle expands our worship—our songs both convey and foster our devotion. They have the power to bring us into God’s presence—or at least make us aware that He’s already here.

“The trumpeters and musicians joined in unison to give praise and thanks to the Lord. Accompanied by trumpets, cymbals and other instruments, the singers raised their voices in praise to the LORD and sang: ‘He is good; his love endures forever.’ Then the temple of the LORD was filled with the cloud, and the priests could not perform their service because of the cloud, for the glory of the LORD filled the temple of God” (II Chronicles 5:13-14 NIV).

Comment prompt: Share a time music has enriched your experience.

About Jane Thornton

Jane Thornton, English teacher, wife, and mom of two almost grown children, strives to break free of the automatic boring label attached to those roles. Her two suspense novels eagerly await a willing publisher, and her articles search for inspiration in the humor and tears of life.
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6 Responses to “Joyful Noise”
  1. Terry Palmer says:

    Thanks for the musical note! I agree. It’s amazing how a simple tune can rush my senses back to another time and place – click – just like that. The old hymns do it for me. Any standard service and Leann, my wife of 36 years, either of us will suddenly stop and choke back a sudden rush of memory or blessing as the wonderful words of live swirl around into a new symphony of praise to our Savior. How about you?

    • Jane Thornton says:

      I completely relate to your experience. Although I love our new tunes, the old hymns have a nostalgic tug on my heart.

  2. Love this, Jane! Music is such a wonderful blessing. Melodies have soothed my soul during time of heartache and pain and given me strength and energy to move forward.

  3. Julie Marx says:

    A memory-prompting post, Jane. I seriously can’t think of only ONE time music has enriched my life. My daughter and I believe life should be a musical. For our joint amusement, we communicate as if in our own musical. “The bacon, O the bacon has dwindled down….” She is much more clever with lyrics than am I. 🙂

    • Jane Thornton says:

      So true! We do the same at our house. I love it when lyrics suit a situation perfectly (or not so much) and someone bursts into song.

  4. I really am disappointed for missing this great post on my initial visit. Congratulations on the page and insight.

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