Tag Archives: 2 Kings 3

“Get Me a Musician”

[The prophet, Elisha, said,] “…get me a musician.” And then, while the musician was playing, the power of the Lord came on him.
2 Kings 3:15 (NRSVCE)

I mentioned in my post the other day that while we’re at the lake Wendy and I are limited in our television viewing choices to the collection of DVDs we have there. So it was that last week I pulled out that oldie, but goodie of the cinema: Die Hard. The movie played in the background as Wendy and I sat at the dining room table with our laptops going about our work.

In case you never caught it, the underlying musical score for Die Hard is one endless string of creative variations on what most Americans know as the hymn Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee. The iconic melody of that familiar hymn comes from the final movement of Beethoven’s ninth and final symphony. As I sat at the dining room table, tapping away on my keyboard, the melody suddenly and unexpectedly took me to another moment, in another place.

London. 2009. The Royal Philharmonic. It was our first night in London and Wendy and I had tickets to hear both Mozart’s and Beethoven’s final symphonies in one program. Wendy’s favorite was Mozart, but mine was Beethoven. There is a moment in Beethoven’s ninth when the music suddenly stops and a lone voice begins to sing. I will never forget the moment I heard that voice. I just began to cry as I listened. A chorus of voices joins the orchestra and the music continues to build to one of the most amazing and moving musical climaxes ever. What most people don’t realize is that Beethoven was completely deaf when he wrote his final symphony. He never heard a note of it with his ears. He only heard it in his spirit. Amazing.

There is something deeply spiritual about the language of music, and I have learned over time that music is a language all its own. It has a special place in creation. Music is an integral part of heaven in the glimpses provided in God’s Message and the theme of music is woven throughout the Great Story.

In today’s chapter the prophet Elisha calls for a musician. When the music begins to play the power of God comes upon him. The language of music was the conduit of God’s Spirit. I get that. The language of music is a spiritual language (both for spiritual light and spiritual darkness, btw). Music has the power to reach deep inside to touch hidden places inside us. Music has the power of inspiration, conviction, revelation, exhortation, and even transportation.

My body last week was sitting at a dining room table in central Missouri. The melody of Beethoven’s ninth playing beneath Bruce Willis’ machine gun suddenly and unexpectedly transported my spirit, in that moment, to the Royal Orchestra Hall in London. My eyes began to mist over. Physicists tells us that all of time is contained in each moment. Perhaps music is a gateway.

This morning I’m thinking about this powerful medium we call music. I’m mulling over the incredible breadth of music that has spoken to me, moved me, and inspired me over the years. Beethoven to Berlioz to Bach, Miles Davis to Bob Dylan to Yo-Yo Ma, Gospel choirs to bluegrass banjos to steel drums and a Reggae beat. I’ve come to accept that I will never know (in this life journey) fluency in the language of music that I desire. I still can experience its power in ways human beings throughout the millennia of history couldn’t even imagine. I literally have access to the entire catalog of human music in the palm of my hand.

“…get me a musician.”

Chapter-a-Day 2 Kings 3

Lost in worship. But considering—bring me a minstrel." (When a minstrel played, the power of God came on Elisha.) 2 Kings 3:15 (MSG)

A few months ago, our church published a new pictoral directory. It's like a phone book with pictures. After receiving it, my wife and I sat on the couch and went through it. We attend a large church with four Sunday morning services, so there are a lot of people. Wendy and I are trying to be more intentional about getting to know people so we tried to pick out some of the families who regularly attend the 10:30 service, which we call home.

"Oh there's the [pick a name, any name] family," Wendy would say.

"Hmmmm. I don't recognize them," I responded, with a slight shake of my head.

"But they always sit [pick a spot, any spot]," my wife would exclaim with incredulity as she described how many rows and seats away this particular family usually sat from our normal stage right, back row seats.

This conversation was repeated.

Several times.

My wife tends to think that I'm really inobservant, and I won't argue that point. She has a lot of evidence with which she could convince any jury. Nevertheless, when I'm sitting in church and the music starts, I tend to feel like I'm transported to a different place. My focus narrows and everything around me tends to fade. When I'm at worship and the minstrels are skillfully doing their thing, it's just me and God in the room. (note to my wife: This isn't an excuse for not observing and knowing who the people are around me, just a reason).

How interesting that Elisha called on a musician when he desired to consult with God. Music is often a creative conduit for God's Spirit to move and speak.

Creative Commons photo courtesy of Flickr and chrismoncus