Like many, I find music can really help when I’m working. Whether writing a strategic plan, pondering a difficult e-mail or designing a publication, I want music that will help me focus and limit distractions.
While I’ve grown to appreciate the depth of the Moravian music and have learned to play and sing a whole book full of religious camp songs, most of the music I like has no religious ties. Yet, I find that even when I don’t intentionally include Christian music, God finds a way to let me know he’s there through my choices. This became clear as I was listening to a recently-created playlist called “Thinking Music.”
This playlist includes the Kennedys’ track, “Stand.” In it, songwriter Maura Kennedy invites us to put aside our differences, plant our swords in the sand and stand for love. I’ve heard this song performed in many different contexts, yet its central message fits right in with our Moravian motto, “in all things, love.”
Further down the playlist is the song, “No Hard Feelings,” by the Avett Brothers. In it, the singer imagines the end of his life, and how it would be to leave with no hard feelings, saying how hard feelings haven’t done much good for anyone, and how those feelings keep us from the good around us. Leaving the hard feelings behind sounds pretty Christ-like to me.
World Party’s “God on My Side” questions many of the ways people use God as a barrier and separator. But as the song progresses, songwriter Karl Wallinger seems to say we need to have God on our side, no matter who’s God it is. I think that’s at the heart of ecumenism.
A new favorite of mine is “Good God a Woman” by Dave Rawlings, a fun take on the creation story. This catchy tune walks through Genesis and after each section of creation, the singer asks, “Is there more,” to which God replies “almost done.” It ends with God creating woman, looking at all he created and smiling.
And then there’s Nick Lowe’s (and Elvis Costello and many other musicians’) “What’s So Funny ‘Bout Peace, Love and Understanding.” I think the title says it all. While not originally written as a religious song, it does strike me as good words to live by.
I’m sure there are many more messages in my “Thinking Music” playlist. It’s a great feeling when instances of faith, hope, or love comes through in a song I’ve heard dozens of times. I’ll keep my ears – and heart – open for more.