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2.10.2009

Can You Hear It?

There's a movie that I absolutely love called August Rush. I've talked about it before.
It's about a boy who grows up in an orphanage, but wants to find his parents. He believes if he plays the music he can hear in his head, they will hear it too, and find him. While that overly simplified synopsis may sound cheesy, Freddie Highmore's portrayal of Evan (later stage-named August) was very convincing.
He says of music that it is "all around. All you have to do is listen."

I saw it last year, and I fell in love with the idea of "hearing the music," the symbolism of something deeper and truer than the noise around us, that connects people and draws them together, if only they can hear it.

This weekend, a newly begun Girl's Group met at my friends' house. We watched a Nooma video, one called Rhythm. Wendy blogged about this on her own blog, so technically, I'm kind of copying her. But anyway. In Rhythm, Rob Bell says that God is like a melody, one that's been going on for thousands of years, and that being in relationship with Him is more than knowing chord theory or having the skill to play perfectly. It's about joining Him in the song. The question, Bell said, isn't whether you are playing any music at all. It's, "are you in tune with God?"

Afterward, we talked about that concept, one you can probably guess I liked. And of course, it made me think of August Rush. One thing we talked about was how we often feel "out of tune" and don't always know how to get back. You could extend the analogy here and say that certain disciplines can help you get back in that rhythm, just like practicing and studying makes you a better musician. So, conceivably, things like prayer and reading the bible would also help one get back in tune with God.

But I, as usual, tend to see things just a little bit differently. I've noticed that sometimes retuning happens whether or not I'm trying for it. Sometimes God gets my attention in unusual ways. Like movies and TV shows and impromptu conversations. I like to think in those moments He's doing the tuning, not me.

I'm a guitar player. So I know that once in a while, I need to tune Holly. The B string in particular likes to go flat. But other times, I go weeks without tuning it. It sounds just fine, so why should I? But if I begin to play Holly alongside another instrument, and she's not in tune, look out! And then I pull out the tuner.

But being "tuned in" can have another connotation. The idea is that you actually listening for something. You're aware of it. In this sense, being tuned into God is almost like trying to find a good radio signal. You want just the right frequency. But how do you get that? With God? How do you get that tuned into Him? I think you have to start by listening. By believing that there IS a signal (or a melody), and that you're supposed to hear it. And that you might hear it anywhere, at any time. Not just Sunday mornings. Not just when you're being ultra-good.

I like the idea of God being like a song. It reminds me of the beginning of "The Silmarillion." And "The Magician's Nephew." Both J. R. R. Tolkien and C. S. Lewis depicted creation scenes as songs. Which, I think is pretty brilliant. In both cases, they became these epic symphonies in which other voices participated.

I think of Life as a lot of things: a Journey, a Battle, a Love Story...I like the idea of it being a Song, too. A song that God is singing. Can You hear it? On a beautiful, nearly-spring day, can you hear it? When a stranger shows you a small kindness, can you hear it? In good conversations with good friends, can you hear it? "The music is all around you. All you have to do...is listen." And then, join in.

2 comments:

Wendy McConnell said...

I really like the extension of the concept of being "in tune" like a radio, too. Thanks for your thoughts!

Grace DeWitt said...

I hear it :). I get what you're saying about being in tune with God, and how it's like he's the one tuning, but maybe we meet him half way (like in Where the Red Fern Grows). Great thoughts!

I'll have to watch August Rush, I've heard a lot of good things about it.

PS: Happy (early) Valentines Day!