Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Worship:Then Sings My Soul!

It is probably a good thing that I wasn't gifted with better musical talent. I might have done something really misguided (for me) and pursued the acting thing. But sometimes I sit in sacrament meeting and just really wish that I had a voice. A gift. The woman with the angelic voice that could sing the soprano HARMONY on Reedemer of Israel. I love that song, but only the MoTab gets it right because they have the gals with the chops to carry it through to the end the way it should be done.

My favorite thing about serving in primary is that there are so many weeks where I just get to sit and SING. I don't have to squirm in Sunday School when uncomfortable comments are made about other churches or polygamy. I don't have to immerse myself in a Relief Society cry fest. I just get to lift up my voice and sing.

Heavenly Father? Are you really there?
We are as the Army of Helaman!
I feel my Savior's Love, in all the world around me.
I'm glad that I live in this beautiful world Heavenly Father Created for Me.
I am a child of God . . .
I want my life to be as clean as earth right after rain.
I will go, I will DO the things the Lord Commands!

If you are ever feeling down or low, drop by a primary music time for ten minutes. You will feel the spirit in spades. Of all human endeavors, I truly believe that music can be the most creative--that it binds body and soul. The need and ability to create such glorious anthems to God is surely something that cannot be explained by evolution. The need to sing and create music must be one of the purest pre-existent divine attributes. (And yes, yes, it is warped for evil too. This isn't that kind of post.)

Despite my love of singing in church, I don't really love Mormon music. Admittedly here I probably mostly mean Michael McClain. And maybe Afterglow. Mercy River I can do without . . .

It isn't that I don't think these folks and others like them don't have talent, it is that some of their stuff seems so contrived to elicit an emotional response that it feels fake.

There are exceptions, however, at least on a song-to-song basis. I've seldom been as moved by a non-hymn as I am by Kenneth Cope's song "Face to Face." A very dear friend sang this at my mission farewell and it stayed firmly with me through many long and difficult months. I think many of Jenny Phillips' songs from her Trek-themed album are very good. Another singer has recently come to my attention. Calee Reid. And true to form, some of the songs on her album are just too cheesy for words, but a couple of them are remarkable.

The first, "She Put the Music in Me," made the Facebook rounds last year about Mothers' Day and is a lovely, true story about Calee's Mother. If you overlook her super-Mormon-momma outfit in the video, it is actually really touching. This clever and moving song compelled me to buy her CD.

And while much of it is hit or miss, two other songs on the album make it worth the price. The first song is lovely medley of "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing" and "I am a Child of God." The other is also a medley: "Where Can I Turn for Peace" and "Be Still My Soul." These two songs have been an enormous source of comfort to me the last few days. The lyrics to each of the four are remarkable, yearning and truth-filled.

In the midst of these thoughts, a friend today sent me a link to an essay from a couple of years ago on Feminist Mormon Housewives. The bulk of the essay is written by the author of "Where Can I Turn For Peace." My music hasn't changed my circumstances; but it is changing my outlook.


Desmama said...

I can't seem to get to the post on FMH through my filter (nudity? huh?). Can you paste it into an email and send it to me? I'd really love to read it.

Kimberly Bluestocking said...

LDS music is hit and miss for me, too, but there are some songs I love. Vocal Point's rendition of "Nearer My God To Thee" is my favorite song bar none. Search for ["nearer my god to thee" vocal point] if you'd like to hear it.

P.S. That Calee Reid video you linked to made me cry.

Z. Marie said...

Sorry, I saw your comment on my blog but can't call up your e-mail address for some reason. Lame technology. But no worries, my e-mail address is newswarrior (at) yahoo (dot) com.

Shiree said...

A college roommate and I would always complain about Mormon music, too. We came to the exact same conclusion as you. Too contrived. (mostly) I am the primary music leader right now and I am surprised how I am feeling spiritually. At all other times that I have been in primary I have felt spiritually stagnant and wished to attend other classes. But this time I am loving it. I get to sing, sing, sing!! :)