Music for the soul

Music, and indeed any art form, involves striving to express that which is recognised but cannot be fully put into words, that which is unknowable and yet known more deeply than anything else. It is this striving for expression that produces great art, it is the acknowledgement – without complete understanding – of the intangible Other that drives creative work.

This is not unique to Christian cultures, it is a universal feature of art. We do not express artistically what we could simply describe succinctly and fully, in a sentence. The intangible natures of love, of the soul, of our deeply felt and yet deeply fractured relationship with God, these are the things which give flight to the mad impulses of the artist.

Of course, the passionate exploration of a question does not necessarily result in finding an answer. Rock music, for one, would scarcely exist without eschatological and spiritual angst (although a vapid and commercially-manufactured boy-band could probably get along just fine…). Whether expressed explicitly via a specific religious framework in such bands as U2 and Live (Christianity and Hinduism respectively), or raging against unresolved religious issues (Meatloaf, Guns ‘n Roses, The Rolling Stones, Nirvana), these are the yearnings that push musicians to greatness.

In Christianity, music is often an integral part of the act of worship. We acknowledge God’s glory and majesty, but are unable to express it in ordinary words – hence the Psalms, in which the poetic construction allows us to come closer to true expression of our feelings.

Attempting to deny this extraordinary wellspring of inspiration would be monstrous. The passionate yearning for the inexpressible Divine and the artistic expression of it is an essential part of what constitutes the human experience.

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Related posts:

Psalm 30

Improving Graces

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One thought on “Music for the soul

  1. i absolutely agree, the music in church plays a big role, when you hear it, it’s like you are sinking in love and understanding, i do like it so much.

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