Tuesday, August 28, 2012

On Music and Transcendence

"If your songs come forth with great fervor, you not only reach deity, but deity comes and possesses you, becomes part of you, and gives you the strength to do whatever you've got to do to win your battles, to harvest your crop."
Joe Carter

My moments of greatest transcendence, where I have briefly escaped the routine of daily life and experienced a higher spiritual plane, have largely taken place in the musical world. That's why I love this quote from Joe Carter [not the baseball player]. It rings true for me. I have been grasped and possessed by deity in the context of music.

I think everyone is searching for transcendence. Something to get our heads away from the mundane reality of our day-to-day laundry and taxes and lunch-packing routines. We seek to be a part of something great, something Bigger. At our worst, we seek it though addiction--to drugs, to hobbies, to religion, to politics, to our children. At our best, we receive a taste and see, however briefly, that the Lord is good. 

Personally, I taste and see most often in music that "comes forth with great fervor." But it isn't the music that bring the high. Instead, I believe the high is very literally God. It is a felt sense of the presence of God.

But even those who commit their lives to remaining in God's presence receive only a taste. No one lives in a perpetual state of transcendence. God is not to be grasped. Transcendence is a rare gift from the Giver.

It is not transcendence that we should seek, but rather God, the author of every good thing.

Transcendence is the icing, not the cake.

In what contexts have you experienced a higher spiritual plane? Music? Prayer? Nature? Family? Something else?


Aidan Rogers said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you. On the very morning I'm sitting here contemplating these same things in my heart, thinking obsessively about mundanity, and just trying to make space and touch God...you come at me with this. Thank you, brother. (And as an added piece of holy hilarity, my captcha code is "writingu." God is amusing.)

As for your question, I feel that transcendence in a lot of things, but mostly in writing and art - anything I'm doing with my hands. Also with music, sitting down at the piano. But for seeking it? It's easy to get transcendence thirst and start looking for it in every breath and just aching for that every second. Wouldn't that be cool?

April Horvath said...

Seeing as how music has been a constant in my life it is no surprise that the promise, His promise, presented through the hymns of my childhood is what originally brought me to God. It is now the music, along with the word and relationships I've made, that help keep my love for Him alive and growing. Other things that bring me closer are seeing and holding babies and children (living proof of His love), witnessing all aspects of nature (whether it be a beautiful sunset, a mass of birds suddenly taking flight, or the cleansing of a heavy rainfall with the promise of a clean slate), and the magic of Christmas Eve with the remembrance of the blessed night He sent his loving son. Thank you for the time to contemplate this!