The past week didn’t seem to start well. I felt pretty depressed Monday and was finding it difficult to get “up” over the next day or two, but that’s where God’s great gift of music comes in. Music is capable of expressing so many things. If you’re “down in the dumps”, there are songs that express that feeling (if you want to wallow in it for a while), or songs that can help pick you up. Put on a rousing Gospel song and just try to stay sad. It’s almost impossible. Your toes start tapping, your frown starts to turn up at the corners, and pretty soon your outlook on life has improved.

Music permeates the social fabric of our lives. We have marching bands in parades, joyous melodies for weddings, lamentation songs for funerals, mindless “soothing” music for doctors’ offices and elevators, and energetic tunes for sporting events. Just try and imagine the Olympics without that Leo Arnaud’s familiar trumpet fanfare or a basketball game without Gary Glitter’s “Hey Song.” (Or for that matter, imagine Star Wars, Jaws, or Psycho without music.)

A few thousand years ago, Saul, the first king of Israel, hired a young shepherd named David to play music for him. When Saul was under spiritual oppression or just feeling melancholy, David would bust out some jig on the harp and Saul’s spirits would be lifted. A couple of hundred years ago, the wealthy nobility in Europe would have musicians and composers on the payroll sitting around their castles, in case they felt like enjoying a little dining music. Today, with the proliferation of iPods, cd players, and car audio systems, we can enjoy virtually any style of music anytime we want. As J.S. Bach noted,

“Music’s only purpose should be the glory of God and the refreshment of the human spirit.”

The next time you’re feeling a little blue, throw on a record (8-track, cassette, CD, mp3, etc.) and let your spirit be refreshed.

P.S. The happy ending to this story is that my spirits were lifted considerably by the end of the week. Worship at church this morning was powerful and helped me to glorify God and refresh my spirit. Thank you, Lord, for the gift of song.