October 15, 2017

Let me play you a song…

I’ve played the piano since my sixth birthday. In fact, piano lessons were a much anticipated birthday gift that year. My older brother plays, and apparently when I was little, I wanted to be “just like him.”

Well, I soon fell in love the piano for its own sake. My high school years passed with many, many hours at the keyboard. I played for church services, school programs, competitions, and just for fun.

I learned to pour out my heart on 88 keys.

I still love playing, although I don’t spend quite as much time at it now. And I definitely still pour my heart into it.

Today, I was playing an arrangement of Like a River Glorious by Dan Forrest, and the beauty of the music simply overwhelmed me. As much as I love writing, and have even dabbled in poetry, I’ve learned something — you can craft a picture with music that you could never put into words.

Like a glorious river, or a vast ocean. Words fail to give the feeling that you get when you see those things in all their beauty. Even a photograph or painting can’t do justice to the splendor of creation.

But music certainly comes close. Consider this arrangement.

Hear it, if you can… 

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The notes start out soft and flowing, like a peaceful, quiet river. A simple one-note melody enters in, calmly but surely noting its place.

And then the music gradually begins to intensify. The ripples gain momentum, and the focus pans out to show a magnificent river gleaming in the glorious sunlight.  The melody heightens softly but surely, soon leading the flow of music in a steadfast declaration of praise:

 

Like a river glorious is God’s perfect peace, over all victorious, in its bright increase.
Perfect yet it floweth, fuller every day. Perfect yet it groweth, deeper all the way.

Stayed upon Jehovah, hearts are fully blest.
Finding, as He promised, perfect peace and rest.

 

Can you hear it? It’s hard to explain in words, but music speaks a language all its own. And it is such is a magnificent gift from our great Creator!

The second verse of the arrangement starts now, a little more constant and very sure in its chords — no lazy river meandering through the land, but a very purposeful flow towards the ocean. And yet, as surely as it declares its direction, it still remains peaceful in its flow:

 

Hidden in the hollow of His blessed hand, never foe can follow, never traitor stand;
Not a surge of worry, not a shade of care, not a blast of hurry touch the spirit there.

 

We hear no surging waves or whitecaps, we sense no stagnant pools of algae-covered water.  Nothing present in those flowing chords that does not belong, but each ripple just where it’s supposed to be — an established river flowing how it was created to flow.

And then the ripples intensify and the chords swell, the glorious river pours out into the unending sea, and the music proclaims in truth and surety that God is good, and all that He does is good!

 

Every joy or trial falleth from above, traced upon our dial by the Sun of Love;
We may trust Him fully all for us to do.
They who trust Him wholly find Him wholly true.

 

How magnificent the truth! How beyond our comprehension! As wide as the ocean is, yet wider still is God’s fullness. As deep as it is, yet deeper still is God’s love and trust-worthiness.

And in the magnificence — in His glorious immensity — we rest. We find peace in His greatness, quietness in His strength, rest in His power.

Stayed upon Jehovah, hearts are fully blest.
Finding, as He promised, perfect peace and rest.

 

QUESTION for YOU: Do you play an instrument? Have you ever sensed the magnificence of God through music?

 

Like a River Glorious, by Francis Havergal
Photo by jennyliz

 

Comments

  1. I don’t play an arrangement of Like a River Glorious, but I always have started out quietly, then built up, adding more. Stayed upon Jehovah-finding as He promised-perfect peace and rest.

  2. Ian Whitfield says:

    That’s really good, like wow, excellent! I played the guitar much like yourself with the piano until 4-5 years ago. Time seems to escape me now … Oh to play the different sounds of the river, as the spitrit journeys through life