Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Learning the words

The radio was blaring in the car.  "Are you listening to what they are saying?" my mom asked my brothers and me, more than once.

And like a mantra, more than once, we repeated as if she couldn't understand:  "We're not listening to the words."

She raised her eyebrows of motherly wisdom.

Strapped in a dental chair last summer for a three hour ordeal, an "oldies" channel kept up a constant barrage of tunes from my teens.  In my mind, I could see my mom looking at me when I was a naive teenager.  I pretty much could have sung the words to every song I heard that day, some of which I had not even heard in decades.

My mom was a musician.  She knew the gift of music and its power to engrave in one's heart and mind.

I also remember a woman in a church we attended when our girls were so young.  She was not a professional musician like my mom, but she was often assigned to teach Scripture verses to children.  No matter toddlers or teens, she used music to do it.  She KNEW that if you attach a tune to the words, they will not soon be forgotten.  She would sometimes just make up a melody on the spot as she taught the word of God, nothing fancy but a simple memorable tune.

It gave a deeper meaning to the Psalms that encourage us to sing a new song to the LORD -- not perhaps for His benefit, but ours.  Not the same old dirge, but time to change my tune.

He put a new song in my mouth,
a song of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear,
   and put their trust in God.

                      Psalm 40. 3

Our girls are now grown.  And I can still remember her rendition of Ephesians 4.32, not just the tune, but the Scripture attached, every word in two dimensions.

I am not a singer by any stretch of the imagination, but often when I am strolling with our grandkids, I will sing a spiritual song or two. Last week as I began to sing, our not-quite-two year old grandson shouted out in recognition, "Momo!! Momo!! Mommy sings that!"

He is not yet old enough to know the words or to understand their depth, but note by note, God's truth is being engraved in his little heart.

And it is awesome to realize that when he is old like me, he will remember every word.

Music is like that.

God's Word even more.

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