Music and Memories
This week we honor saints who have gone before us, who surround us, and who follow in our footsteps. For the older generation, dealing with the scrapbooks and sorting through pictures is a huge challenge. Pictures carry so many memories and remind us how saints and sinners have formed our lives. The statues that sit on mantles, hang on walls, and decorate our homes often carry deep memories and honor the saints. My father’s sailor’s hat only recently was relinquished from me, the oldest daughter, to my younger brother.
Today I want to focus on music as a receptacle of memories. My parents died about a year apart and I was able to fly home for the funerals. Adrenalin and friends carried me through the ceremonies. Back in Africa, one day I decided to put on the Mitch Miller CD that played old family songs we sang back in the day. Suddenly I was sobbing my heart out, grieving the death of my father as the words to “That Old Gang of Mine” floated in the air. We associate many songs with people and meaningful events. We know the baseball game often starts with the National Anthem. We have favorite Christmas songs we always watch and carry memories. Couples often talk about “our song” that has accompanied them through the years and brings tender moments to mind. Music gets linked to saints that have blessed our lives.
George Frederick Handel’s oratorio Messiah is possibly one of the most famous classical music pieces in the world and is played thousands of times at Christmas and often at Easter. Handel wrote the piece in 18 days and it premiered in Dublin in 1742, near Easter. Now it is a Christmas must. The opening portion, “Comfort Ye My People” is one of my favorite parts as it so captures the heart and intent of God – even in the Old Testament. “Comfort, comfort my people, says your God. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem and proclaim to her that her hard service has been completed, that her sin has been paid for, that she has received from the Lord’s hand double for all her sins. (Isaiah 40: 1-2) The cloud of saints in heaven is experiencing their reward for their journey here on earth. We in the crowd of saints here on earth can look forward to the “Halleluiah” chorus when all memories will be set right. Blessings as you listen. What is your favorite song that reminds you of a saint in your life?