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Reflections | Dr. Leighton Ford (Mentoring)

Beauty, Song, and St. Patrick’s Day (Leighton Ford)

March 17, 2017

I have been reading the book Beauty by the Irish poet-philosopher John O’Donohue.

He writes about the beauty that is in music this way: “Often in the human voice things long lost in the valleys of the mind can unexpectedly surface.”

This made me think about my dear brother-in-law Billy. At 98 years old he is profoundly deaf. He can’t hear me speak because my voice is deep and he can’t hear Jeanie because her voice is soft but I have found that if I sing he can hear.

Some months ago we were with him and as usual he couldn’t hear what was being said so the four of us who were with him decided to sing some of his old crusade songs: “To God Be The Glory”; “My Jesus, I Love Thee”; “Blessed Assurance”.

When we stopped he said, simply, “Sing more”.

So we sang “How Great Thou Art” and when we finished he quietly breathed “Amen”.

I believe that the beauty of music touched the deep beauty of Christ
in his soul.

It led me to think we ought to be more like the Psalmist, singing his great songs of praise and sometimes desolation, and like Paul who encouraged us to sing to one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs the beauty of the Spirit through our voices.

And perhaps on this St. Patrick’s Day we should consider being more like the Celts, whose soulful and haunting music has touched and touches so many souls. In classic Celtic music the melodic line moves up and down the primary chords. Students of music tell us that this is because such a melodic progression makes it easier to sing in harmony – so that the gifts of each can bring richness and beauty to the whole.

Leighton Ford

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