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Sermon for Father’s Day

June 18, 2017

Anna V. Copeland, Preaching

                                   

God’s Soundtrack

There’s a beautiful little film called “August Rush” about a gifted young boy in an orphanage who hears music in every natural created thing. He hears bells ring as rain splatters glass, percussion in the snap of twigs on a forest walk, an entire orchestra at play in the string section of prairie grass. He is the child of two gifted musicians, separated from him at birth. The child has no way of knowing that the music he hears in every created thing is in his very DNA. He hears God’s soundtrack for the world and dreams of home.

Today is music Sunday. Consider with me for a few minutes this morning how God, the Divine Musician, creates the soundtrack of life. You may hear things this morning you have not previously considered.

First, let’s listen to Psalm 98:7-8:

 “Let the sea roar, and all that fills it;

    the world and those who live in it.

 

Let the floods clap their hands;

    let the hills sing together for joy.”

And hear these words from Isaiah 55:12:

“You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands.”

Our scriptures are filled with references to the music of creation.

Before there was the faithful and committed chancel choir, our women’s ensemble Sweet, Sweet Spirit and the Bow Tie Guys, with their tight harmonies; before there were bells marking the hours and hand bells ringing us to glory, before there was a Wendell except in the imagination of his mother, or a Terrie at piano, or a songbird named Gina, there was God.

“In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God.” Jesus was in the beginning with God, according to a beloved disciple of Jesus named John. And in the fullness of time, God spoke the Word into time. God sung Christ into the world. The language of God is music.

To consider that the language of God is music requires both the creative imagination of an artist and the openness to discovery of a scientist. Many scientists and physicists believe that the worlds came into being through cosmic vibrations. We know that sound waves move matter. While much of this music of the universe may be outside our range of hearing, but it is within our human capacity to catch some of the melody line of the near though far of hymn of God’s creation.

Theologian and teacher Dan McCollam stirs our imagination about the amazing power that God has hidden for us in sound. He writes: “Physicists claim that the universe is in a constant state of vibratory motion. String theory claims that there are tiny vibrating strands of energy at the center of all matter. Both the book of Genesis in our Bible and the leading authority on creation research tell us that the Holy Spirit vibrated over nuclear matter to energize it, giving it the ability to be shaped and formed. Colossians tells us that God created all visible and invisible things and that, …by God all things consist.” Are you seeing the picture? All created things vibrate and the Creator initiated this vibration in the Genesis account of creation.

McCollam adds another piece to our sound puzzle noting the work of writer Dr. John Beaulieu who proposes that trees, plants, rocks, and people are perhaps music that has taken on visible form. Assuming the application of this theory has merit, one would be led to ask, “Where then is the voice or music coming from that shapes creation?” For people of faith, the answer to that question is God.

  1. S. Lewis must have imagined a similar concept in his acclaimed children’s fiction, The Magician’s Nephew, from the Chronicles of Narnia series. Here, Lewis pictures the great lion Aslan singing Narnia into existence. (Aslan the Lion, if you haven’t read the Chronicles of Narnia, represents God). Polly and Digory are two young children who watch in amazement as everything the lion sings takes on the shape, character, and color of his song. Now C.S. Lewis was writing children’s fiction, not establishing quantum theory or systematic theology, but Beaulieu’s principle and Lewis’s fiction could easily make one wonder if all that we see and enjoy in creation is simply a visible form of the “Lion’s song,” of God’s song.

Not only does it appear that there is certainly a vibration at the center of all creation, but that same vibrating strand may be what holds the universe together.

We believe from the Genesis account that God spoke creation into existence, but according to the book of Hebrews, God’s powerful word is still what is holding the universe together. “The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word.” (Hebrews 1:3)

What if the string or vibration at the center of all matter in the universe is in fact the sound wave from the word God spoke over each created thing at its entry into existence. What if God’s voice, that God vibration, not only created all things into being but is also the glue holding all creation together. Colossians 1:17 states, “God is before all things, and in God all things hold together.”

The words that God speaks live forever and supersede our material reality. “Heaven and earth will pass away but my words will never pass away.” (Luke 21:33) Like the quantum field theory we considered a few minutes ago, we now consider that God’s words shape physical matter in the act of creation, but the sounds themselves are a greater reality than what they create because they “never pass away.”

God then becomes the music without which the universe could not exist.

Isn’t that so cool? I’m sort of embarrassed that I never really thought about it before. Theologians, scientists and poets write about this as if God’s soundtrack of creation were common knowledge.

English poet Lord (George Gordon Noel) Byron wrote: “There's music in the sighing of a reed; 
There's music in the gushing of a rill; 
There's music in all things, if men had ears: 
Their earth is but an echo of the spheres.”

If then God’s sung action from creation continues still as music, then all our music becomes our sung response to God. And all life becomes worship as well. God becomes Creator and Maestro of the universe issuing a call and inviting our response. Not only do we raise our voices here in worship, but also our very lives become a sung response to God.

Perhaps music moves us so profoundly because it is the language of God. Music resonates, vibrates in our very soul. Like the power of so many things we do not understand, things like prayer, love, and forgiveness), music connects us to the source of our being and that changes everything.

“At a certain point you say to the woods, to the sea, to the mountains, the world, Now I am ready. Now I will stop and be wholly attentive. You empty yourself and wait, listening,” writes Annie Dillard from “Teaching a Stone to Talk”. Jesus said over and yet again, let those who have ears, hear? He invited us to hear God’s song and respond.

We’re not going to talk about how to respond to God’s music today. That’s the subject for all the rest of the year. But just for today, listen to the invitation of Psalm 100 and respond by lending your own harmony to the chorus of God’s soundtrack of life.

“Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth.

    Worship the Lord with gladness;

    come into God’s presence with singing.

Know that the Lord is God.

    It is God that made us, and we belong to God.

    we are God’s people, and the sheep of God’s pasture.

Enter God’s gates with thanksgiving,

    and God’s courts with praise.

    Sing thanks to God, bless God’s name.

For the Lord is good;

    God’s steadfast love endures forever,

    and God’s faithfulness to all generations.”

Amen

(With gratitude and credit to Dan McCallam’s work, “God Vibrations: A Christian Perspective on the Power of Sound”.)