Heavenly Praise Here on Earth

October 17, 2019 at 11:25 AM 8 comments

…For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. (Mt 5:45b ESV)

I love certain types of music, as most people have their own favorite genres. I have always been musically inclined. I began playing cornet, drums and piano in the fifth grade. Drums are an instrument I taught myself, which isn’t that difficult to do by simply listening to records (yep, vinyl years ago) and replicated what was heard on the recording. Cornet and piano are of course, much more difficult because it involves playing exact notes on the treble and/or bass scales. There are some folks who can play the piano by simply hearing a song and replicating it. However, this is not the norm. Most of us have to work very hard to be able to play something that sounds good. It takes years, unless you’re someone like Mozart, who, by all accounts, was creatively gifted as a young boy, who began playing the piano at age 5.

But music has the ability to soothe or agitate, depending upon the genre. In today’s world, rap and hip hop is actually called music, when in point of fact, it’s simply poetry put to a percussive beat. I don’t consider it music at all. In many other cases, software programs like Pro Tools are utilized after the recording to “perfect” a person’s voice or even the instrumentation, forcing the recorded music/vocals to sound right on the mark. There are telltale signs of this being used today by too many pop artists. I’ve heard some recordings of some of them prior to the use of Pro Tools and it’s pretty sad.

I’ve been singing since before the fifth grade. I’ve always enjoyed it. When I was in my late teens/early twenties, it was very easy for me to sing along with songs from Boston, Journey and others, hitting the high notes without any problems. Of course, over the years because I stopped singing, my vocal chords relaxed and started to “droop” just like everyone else’s and I have a very hard time reaching many of those high notes without going into falsetto. Even then, I have an upper limit. It’s frustrating but it would likely take a few solid years of being trained by a professional to even begin to get some of my old vocal chops back.

I often think also of the fact that the only instrument I’ve continued playing is essentially the drums. Over the past few years, I’ve gotten back into piano and am also toying with the trumpet again, but let’s face it, I’m not Mozart and it’s taking a long time to make any real gains. The fact that we just bought another vehicle to replace the old Ford Escape that had nearly 350,000 miles on it means things like piano lessons have to go away for a while.

But what I’ve been thinking about lately is how God has provided “gifts” to people, in spite of their standing before Him. Just like we read in Matthew 5:45 above, God provides gifts to all of us to varying degrees. That’s what Jesus meant when He stated that God sends the rain and shines the sun on the just and unjust.

Why does God do this? Ultimately, it is because it glorifies Him. Except for rap, hip-hop and country, I generally listen to all types of music. My favorite is classic rock, jazz, and even the classics. Lately, I’m getting back into listening to two of my favorite singers: Sarah Brightman and Andrea Bocelli. What I find is that listening to these performers sing as they do, my insides actually begin to “sit down.”

I was watching part of an interview with Sarah Brightman and she stated that she’s always had an affinity toward music. For her, her entire body is her instrument. You’ll note the way she moves on stage, the way she holds or tilts her head while singing, the way her mouth opens wide allowing her vocal chords to be unobstructed when reaching for certain notes, the way she might reach her arms out or up – these are all ways in which she is able to hit certain notes. Her lifetime of singing has given her the ability to understand her body, her head, her nasal cavities and the way sound is created within her. She understands how she must position her head in order to reach the octaves that other sopranos only dream about and she does it with ease.

Sarah Brightman is an example of God sending His rain on the just and unjust. I’m not trying to comment on her belief (or not) in God. However, in the interviews I’ve heard/watched, I don’t hear her referring to God in a personal way. Yes, she’s recorded hymns and other beautiful medleys, but I get the impression she understands that she simply was born with this affinity for music. She’s seriously musically inclined and she makes the most of it.

My frustration with myself has directed me to understand that even though in this life, I’ll likely never hit the highs of Brad Delp (Boston) or Steve Perry (Journey) without having to use a falsetto voice, play the piano like John Tesh or the cornet like Louis Armstrong, or drums like Buddy Rich, the reality is that when I get to heaven, will my musical talents not be there with me?

In other words, while I experience the frustration of not being as good as I once was in the singing department, won’t I be infinitely better when I’m there with the Lord, in a body that is glorified and totally free of the sin nature that includes death and the process of dying here and now? My guess is that God gifted me with some type of affinity toward music in this life. I didn’t create that within myself.

Over the years, I’ve come to realize that I am artistic, both musically and in the area of art. Years ago, I took private art lessons and can still remember how to do some of those things with water colors. Put a math book in front of me and I get thoroughly bored and frustrated quickly depending upon the level of math. While I’m sure I can be taught how to do the upper levels of mathematics, it is a subject that does not come easily to me. I really have to work at it and it is work for me. For others? Not so much.

When it comes to music and art, I tend to enjoy it in spite of my frustrations that I’m not where I’d like to be. For instance, had I continued playing the piano from fifth grade to now, literally only God knows how good I’d be. I mourn the loss of not having kept piano and trumpet up, though I can still get back to them.

I am convinced that when I see the Lord in heaven, I will utilize the music abilities He invested within me. I find it difficult to believe that there are no instruments in heaven. I’ve stated before that I used to play drums in church, however, now I’m at the point and have been for a while where I personally believe that type of instrumentation does not belong in church solely because of how it can affect our sin natures. Drums are percussive, like the piano, and if not careful can lead to sinful behavior. The piano can also do this but when the piano is used for playing hymns, it rarely causes problems. In heaven, with the complete absence of the sin nature and death, any instrument utilized there would be for one purpose – glorifying God. Will I be part of that heavenly choir and orchestra? I think it’ll certainly be an option and I’ll likely find that as well as I thought I could sing here, I’ll sing that much better there with the absence of those things that impair my ability here.

Why has God gifted people like Sarah Brightman, Andrea Bocelli and many others? I believe He does this because the gifts these people have an use bring Him glory, even if the person using that gift does not recognize that their gift came directly from the Father of Lights.

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. (James 1:17 ESV)

When we hear someone like Sarah Brightman, we should immediately recognize that the gift she has fanned into a flame came not from her, but from God Himself. He provided her with that gift to make our journey through this life more bearable. It should force us to praise HIM for her gift, even if she does not do that herself.

We should not be caught up with people for people’s sake. We should enjoy what God has given them because it brings Him glory. The gifts they have literally point to God as Creator. In fact, this very argument can and should be used when talking with them to possibly and hopefully get them to a point of understanding that they did not make themselves. They are the result of God creating them and investing within them the ability to do something that should cause all people to recognize the Creator, not them.

I’m not saying that we should not applaud their talents. That’s respectful. I’m simply saying that certainly Christians of all people should understand that a person who sings as beautifully as someone like Sarah Brightman does so solely because of what God instilled within her. Because of that it is certainly good to recognize her gifts but then we need to ensure that we do not praise her for what God has given her, but we should offer our praise to God for what He has given to her.

Imagine life without music, without beautiful sounds we call song. Throughout the Bible, we commanded to worship, to sing our praise to God. The book of Revelation is complete with references to heavenly choirs. Singing and beautiful instrumentation is as much a part of God’s Creation has human beings are and we should thrill at the opportunity to hear from people who are so gifted. But we must always remember that they are gifted not because of what they do vocally or musically, but because of what God gave them in the first place.

None of us are “self-made.” We are what we are at our root because of what God has gifted us within ourselves. The sooner we recognize that, the sooner we will learn to praise Him.

 

Entry filed under: Atheism and religion, christianity, Religious - Christian - Theology, salvation. Tags: , , , , .

Updates of Praise Letting Go and Letting God?

8 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Eric  |  October 20, 2019 at 12:43 PM

    Hello again Dr DeRuvo,

    As this relates to the subject of your article, I just want to provide you a link to a piano piece by a group (two brothers in their debut album at the time) that is known primarily for its dance electronic sound (comparable to a Depeche Mode, if you have heard of them). There are so many genres and groups/bands that are truly creative and original in their work. Again, talent that is God-given for our musical pleasure. For purpose of illustration, this sample piece, for example, is otherwise lost since this group would not be categorized under classical. No one would be aware of this song’s existence. One of the brothers in this group is classically trained — Chris Reynolds (this piece, for example). Sadly, on a side note, I had found out the other brother (Mark) had committed suicide several years into their career. But this is another topic altogether. Sad, given the topic. God providing the talent, that is. Nevertheless, the link is below:

    The Lord bless.

    — Eric

    Reply
    • 2. modres  |  October 20, 2019 at 4:28 PM

      Thanks – very nice music! It’s always tragic when talented people end their lives, whether it’s Brad Delp (Boston) or the Mark you mentioned. God gives talent but as we know that by itself doesn’t necessarily open their eyes to the truth of the Gospel.

      Reply
      • 3. Eric  |  October 20, 2019 at 7:02 PM

        Hello Dr. DeRuvo,

        Yes, Brad Delp of Boston is a good example. This is so true. Whatever the talent — be it intelligence, athleticism, art, music, you name it — it still does not mean that it will open one’s eyes to the truth of the Gospel. Ironically, in many ways, the opposite truly is often the case and tragic indeed, and why we need the Lord.

        Below, I have a couple of more from Red Flag then I will leave it at that as I provide the following two links below. Besides, I don’t think you will have the time or need to do so otherwise. These are the only other two songs that would or could fall in the classical category that you will find relaxing and peaceful. In mood, they may be more on the melancholy side perhaps, but is still great listening otherwise.

        By the way, I will keep your wife (and yourself) in prayer in the course of her recovery/therapy from her surgery and future surgery in the next months. I can relate to this with my parents from the last several years, if not longer. Personally, I don’t like hospitals (who does, right?) but I certainly understand what you are going through and where you are coming from. Praise God for what He has done and what He is doing nevertheless. It’s always a reminder for us in difficult times as hard as it can be sometimes. Especially when one is looking through a glass darkly. Well, I have to go, Dr. DeRuvo. The Lord bless you and your family. I will keep you all in prayer. The two links are below for your listening:

        God bless!

        — Eric

      • 4. modres  |  October 20, 2019 at 8:39 PM

        Thanks very much, Eric. I appreciate your comments and for your prayers.

  • 5. Eric  |  October 18, 2019 at 1:38 AM

    Hello Dr. DeRuvo,

    Great article! I am a music fan myself. I don’t like rap or hip hop either. I tolerate a little country here and there but prefer western and bluegrass over country. You are a Sarah Brightman and Andrea Bocelli fan I see. Yes, “Time To Say Goodbye, ” is a beautiful song! We happen to be Sarah Brightman fans in this household although we have not heard her music or ‘new’ music, for that matter, in quite some time. My parents had the opportunity to see her in concert twice (prior to my Mom’s passing) and in one of those two (Phoenix) I had the opportunity to see her in concert. I think you will like the following link by a Messianic husband and wife team (including daughters) with beautiful music reminiscent of Sarah. In fact, there is one song, in particular, where the introduction briefly sounds like Sarah to a ‘T” including the music intro itself to one of Sarah’s songs. You will probably pick it up right away when you hear it.This is not that song but you will find it as the album is a brief one. I would like you to hear the song I provide in the link below as this song is the one song that won me over to all the rest. Simply beautiful! Truly God-given talent that goes right back to the the Lord Himself! In fact, I discovered them on Zola Levitt several years ago now. They are Sasha and Anya Poberejny and their album is called, “To The Heavens.” The Lord bless you, Dr. DeRuvo, as you will be blessed by this music:

    — Eric

    Reply
    • 6. modres  |  October 18, 2019 at 7:48 AM

      Thank you, Eric for your comments and the link. I’ll definitely check it out!

      Reply
      • 7. Eric  |  October 18, 2019 at 1:35 PM

        You’re welcome. I will just mention that the two songs that are very close to each other in their introduction in sound (at least in my opinion and obviously not to a “T,” of course) is “Gates of Heaven” by Sasha and Anya Poberejny and “Free” by Sarah Brightman.
        This particular Brightman song immediately came to mind when I first heard “Gates of Heaven” by the Poberejnys. The Lord has blessed many individuals out there in the music world indeed. The Lord bless you, Dr. DeRuvo.

        — Eric

      • 8. modres  |  October 18, 2019 at 2:51 PM

        Thanks for the additional information. I started listening to the link you sent and it is very uplifting. With as much talent as the Lord has gifted to many within the music/singing field, I can only imagine what the actual heavenly choir will sound like. That will make all music/singing here pale in comparison but for now, it’s still wonderful to listen to and absorb.

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