June 2003 (Vol. XVI, No. 6)

WELCOME TO SUMMER, dear friends! Silence and music .. ebb and flow: the mystery of bird song and the silence that follows -- afterglow that warms the heart and sets us yearing for our own soul son.g Journey to the silene an music of your heart.

My worship is 10,000 crickets in the deep wet hay of the field

Warm sun. My worship is a blue sky and 10,000 crickets in the deep wet hay of the field. My vow is the silence under their song. I admire the woodpecker and the dove in simple mathematics of flight. Together we study practical norms. The plowed and planted field is red as brick in the sun and says: "Now is my turn!" Several of us began to sing.

~ by Thomas Merton

Music is sound and silence

Music is sound AND silence. It is the spaces BETWEEN the notes that create rhythm, melody, and meaning, and the greater the composer -- and the perfornance -- the better the quality of the silence. Legendary pianist Artur Schnabel said that it wasn't the notes but the silences between them he played better than other people. A few seconds more or less at crucial moments in the performance of a piece may mean the difference between a mundane and a transcendent experience.

~ from THE NATURE OF MUSIC by Maureen McCarthy Draper

Music has a divine message

Music has a divine message and messenger of life. It was quintessentially the "Quickening art" -- quickening my soul with this my body, so that suddenly, spontaneously, I was quickened into motion, my own perceptual and kinetic melody, quickened into life by the inner life of music. I was carried ahead by the ongoing musical stream.

~ from A LEG TO STAND ON by Oliver Sacks

Where we experience music

The interior place where we experience God is the same kind of place and as real as the place here we experience music and poetry.

~ by Karen Armstrong

Everything has its song

"Wake up! SEE!"

Suddenly from where I lay, I did see. I saw that as he shoveled, the coal had a song. Grandfather had a song, even the pickup truck had a song. I saw that Grandfather heard the song and that he shoveled in harmony with it. He was like a symphony conductor. I realized that what I saw was the maximum-efficiency, minimum-effort law he had been teaching me earlier. While I had struggled against myself during the long hospital ceremony, Grandfather had been conducting an orchestra, a ceremonial symphony.

"I see you got it. You see, everything has its song. Find the energy, the song, and merge wíth it. You must seek the harmonic and merge with it."

~ from STAR WARRIOR by Bill Wahlberg

Forget all distractions and just play

When I asked the old man if he believed in the healing power of music, he laughed at first, and then suddenly grew serious. "I forget everything when I play. All my heart goes into the music. If I don't concentrate, the music changes, so it's best to forget all distractions and just play."

~ from QUESTIONS OF HEAVEN by Gretel Ehrlich

When the heart starts singing

When the violin
Can forgive the past
It starts singing.

When the violin can forgive
Every wound caused by others
The heart starts singing.

~ by Hafiz

The birds priase God

The world is full of implicit religion, and the inspired saints and poets, who say that the birds "praise God" when they sing, are in no way mistaken. Because it is their tiny life itself which sings the "great life" and makes heard, through its countless variations, the same news which is as old as the world and as new as the day: "Life lives and vibrates in me." What homage to the source of life is expressed by these small streams of life: the birds which sing!"

~ from MEDITATIONS ON THE TAROT by Valentin Tomberg

If each bird waited

If each of the birds in the forest waited until the bird with the most beautiful song could sing, the forest would be silent.

~ Unknown

I heard the tune whistled of a little song

As I approached the house, I heard the tune whistled of a little song coming from the upper window. I did not know anything yet, but I listened. The tune stirred my memory and some dormant recollections came to the fore. The music was banal but the whistling was wonderfully sweet, with soft and pleasing notes, unusually pure, as happy and as natural as the song of birds. I stood and listened, enchanted, and at the same time strangely moved without having any kind of accompanying thoughts.
~ from JOURNEY TO THE EAST by Hermann Hesse

How to produce joyous harmonies

The fitness of our hearts and thoughts to receive God's spirit is like that of violin strings. If they are properly tuned, in harmony with one another, then the touch of the bow produces beautiful music. If not, then there is only discord. Whenever our hearts are truly ready to receive God's spirit, they will produce heavenly airs and joyous harmonies -- both in this life and in the spiritual world.


Brahms came like a thundering revelation

A few girls were taken to a performance of Johannes Brahms' "Requiem." Teak was the youngest to go, and she sat next to Frau professor. Teak had never been to a concert before. The music was so awesome, so profound, so moving and stirring that Teak's eyes filled with unexpected tears, and she was grateful when the old woman put her arm around her shoulder as if she understood. The muscc to Teak was like an opening into what she thought heaven might be like. Brahms came like a thundering revelation.

~ from THE BEEJUM BOOK by Alice O. Howell

When in our music You are glorified

When in our music You are glorified,
and adoration leaves no room for pride,
It is as though the whole creation cries Alleluia!
How often, making music, we have found
a new dimension in the world of sound,
As worship moves us to a more profound Alleluia!
Let every instrument, be tuned for praise!
Let all rejoice who have a voice to raise!
And may You give us faith to sing always Alleluia!

~ by F. Pratt Green

The music of silence

Silence is more musical than any song.

~ by Christine Rossetti

The gift of music

I would give you the gift of music hat you might know your own soul.
~ by Betsy Kingsley Hawkins

How music mirrors my relationship with God

As I was listening I thought about being in conversation with God, and I was struck by how much this piece of music mirrors my relationship with God. When I first began conversing with God, it was very simple, like the opening of the Fugue. In reply, God did not repeat my melody but responded in a harmonic way, just as Bach's instruments do. Over time, our conversation — the Divine's and mine — has built in richness, complexity, depth and beauty, like the fugue builds. Ebb and flow occur in the dynamics of both the music and my conversation with God, but my soul is constantly stirred by the heatbreaking beauty of what I hear and what I know.

~ from A SACRED PRIMER by Elizabeth Harper Neeld