My wife, Dianne was a talented musician. She was a classical pianist, played for worship at several churches, and scored and accompanied amateur singing and dramatics groups. During her illness she continued to practice, but as her energy levels waned, she dedicated herself to making recordings of her work so that I would not be without her “pretty noises,” as I called them once she was gone.
The recordings are precious to me, but as of yet, I have not begun to play them. But I shall. For now there is stillness in my house.
Having come from a religious tradition of A Capella music, it took me some time to truly come to appreciate the praise that musicians can shower on the Lord. Dianne taught me that making harmony in one’s heart is just as much harmony with the glorifying of God as it is with that of other worshipers.
Music is indeed an aspect of our human experience. It can move us, lift us, humble us, and encourage us. There is a theological concept called numinous, “having a strong religious or spiritual quality; indicating or suggesting the presence of a divinity.” I have felt this presence of God on several occasions in my life. The earliest memory was a vespers service at a Benedictine house when I was a teenager. The Spirit of God sent shivers through my body, and the devotions of the monks were life changing for me. Later, I had a similar experience during a particularly powerful acapella worship in Tennessee. Most recently, not long before Dianne’s passing, I again felt it during a Pentecostal service of praise and worship. Dianne used to sit quietly during such periods of worship, not singing, but mediating upon the Spirit’s washing over her, and through the congregation. Her praise (despite being a musician) was at those times was meditative, and personal between her and God.
I have come to truly value the act of praise, and I hope that my heart’s reaching out to God is more complete than just what I can offer with my voice. But I can also, as Dianne taught me through her example, just “be still in the Lord.”