Today I share another excerpt from a comedy devotional I was working on called Holy Spirit and Chill. It’s about half way done, but I stopped writing it because the content was 1) perhaps too silly to be helpful and 2) I think I have to be in a groove to knock out the remaining chapters. This one is the third chapter of the section involving music.

Come Together

Well let’s not waste time in this chapter and get right to it. There are artistic displays meant for everyone. Most artists are balancing the accessible with the expressible which is why lyric, music, and song are so particular in their ability to reach masses of people. 

Some artists/creators ask, how many people can we bring together in listening to music and singing our songs to experience chills, communitas, spiritual equilibrium? How do we lure the Spirit into our midst? Is it through our song, our unity, or does it only matter that we have chosen to be there?

I believe most things are meant to be experienced together, but music in particular seems to increase in power and reach when it is shared. Which is why I’d like to point us to the end of all things found in the poetry and apocalyptic nature of Revelation.

Trying to figure out what is a song and what’s not in Revelation can be difficult,  but I know for a fact that Revelation 15:2-4 is a song. I know this because it says God gave some saintly folks some harps to play and because it says “they sang a song of God’s servant Moses and of the Lamb.”

The lyrics in the song itself state:

“For you alone are holy.

All nations will come

    and worship before you,

for your righteous acts have been revealed.”

Rather than emphasizing the song itself, the lyrics emphasize posture and people. It emphasizes coming together before God because of their shared vision of God. And that shared vision of God’s presence is what fills the people.

This is helpful in that it shows us the difference between a shared communal gathering like a concert that might give us chills, from the presence of the Spirit. The emphasis of why you’re gathering, in particular who you are gathering or singing for is what is important. The Psalms tell us, “God inhabits (dwells in) the praises of His people.” (Psalm 22:3). Elsewhere there is evidence that God’s presence is manifest where His people gather in His name. 

God inhabiting the praises of His people and the collective joining in unison of people at a concert have something in common that give us chills. It is the freeing feeling that a particular event or time is not about us. We become lost in or a part of something bigger, a body or a chorus. And that can make us feel weightless and forgetful of the things that are particular to us as individuals. It alleviates the weight albeit temporarily of the things we feel like we have to carry ourselves. 

It’s why we appreciate loudness because we can express the fullness of our voice without the added worry of how we sound on our own. We allow the sound of other voices to compensate or hide our own. 

Inversely, have you ever been in a setting where one person is singing in a manner that is seemingly louder than everyone else. Like one step offbeat or just out of harmony. The type of scenario where one is trying to stand out from the crowd rather than join in. Isn’t it strange how an individual is even capable of doing that? I won’t even try to unpack the psyche of why someone may want to. Hopefully, in most cases it is an accident. But surely someone with classical training (unlike myself) would know they are doing it. Are they auditioning? 

I mean look, I’ve already admitted in the last chapter that I’ve listened to myself singing while working out at the gym so clearly I like the sound of my own voice. And there have been times when I have been singing with the slightest hope that perhaps someone might hear and complement me or invite me to join their band, and we’d go on tour, and I could switch off between playing the tambourine and sing and play a few chords on the guitar and help the roadies and together we’d have a short but lucrative career. 

But then bam! Reality kicks in and I realize who I am standing next to and remember they have absolutely no sway or musical ability and might think I sound good but will not in any way help that dream take off, so I move around the room standing next to people who I hope will hear me and make all of our wildest dreams come true. And then, I take the advice of the one person who says I should try out for a reality music show even though that one person who recommended I do it, is completely tone deaf. And then I go to the audition, but I manage to pull off the performance of my life and I get the golden ticket to the Chocolate factory and perform regularly for all the Oompa Loompas and in my rider, I have all sorts of cool amenities including grilled chicken to make sure I eat healthy between shows. And I just narrowly avoid a conservatorship and am finally responsible for my own life and decisions. And then I go back to those people that I once stood next to and tried to impress but was overlooked by and ask them if they want my autograph.

And then I ask myself, “was it all worth it?” And I admit to all of us that the last two paragraphs so threw us off the topic of coming together in the Spirit of unity, and it was not worth it, and I apologize again, and you keep reading because you are gracious hosts and are still hopeful that something in this book will help us all along the way. And I encourage you all to pray for that to happen. The end.

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