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Music and Light- The Greatness of the Musical Gift (ThinkJump Journal #109 with Kim Gentes)

As I'm recovering from the slowly receding fog of the flu this week, I hear the thumping under-beat of a [no doubt, clean edit] rap song playing throughout the house. My wife, blissfully unaware of the lyrics to the rhythms she's enjoying, exclaims "those kids have some good music out these days". It's a few days later that my 20-something son informs my sweetheart that the beat she loves and bobs her head to is rife with slurs and epithets she likely wouldn't concur with. Thus ended the playlist hit cycle for "Rockstar" in the Gentes household.

This led to a discussion about the tunes my sweetie enjoyed as she drove around doing errands during the day, which included the aforementioned "Rockstar" (Post Malone), "1-800-273-8255 (I don't wanna be alive)" (Logic), and her favorite "Let You Down" (NF). My (much more docile) current pop favorite is "Perfect" (Ed Sheeran), although I have been enjoying virtually every track from the movie track of "The Greatest Showman" for about the last 3 weeks.

It's interesting to me that so much great musical talent is out there, speaking to our world and culture. Things we agree with and things we don't. Music is a kind of life illuminating script that has the power to dissolve the barriers to conversation. That power has always been a part of the human experience and the human community (what we call culture). History, archaeology and anthropology have known this for as long as these studies have been around.

The sound of the illuminating music from the community of Jesus (what we have called Christian music, or in the past, sacred music) has ebbed from its bright place of prominence that it once burned with (at different times and cultures) in the last two millennia. I wonder where its next Gregory (the chants), Joseph Haydn, Johann Bach, or Charles Wesley will come from? Who will write the next great, life-illuminating music that cracks us open to the heart of God as beams of light to the shadow-saturated culture of brokenness of the 21st century? Not just a song to please the "insiders", but sound and lyric that lifts as a sail to catch the wind of the Creator himself. A sail whose vessel can carry any one of us into the clear-eyed vision of the scripture's new creation, that very real place we call hope, faith and love.

--Kim Gentes

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