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Words of Worth

Jubalatte Bible Study I

The Christian Performer

1.1 Gratitude

Gratitude: the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness. ~ Oxford Dictionary

"Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." 1 Thessalonians 5:18

  • What part does gratitude play in the life of a Christian musician?

  • Is it the soprano part, second violin part, bassoon part?

  • Seriously, is it part of the harmonic structure of your life?
     

Paul wrote that giving thanks in all circumstances is God's will for us in Christ Jesus.

Ponder a moment

Our Gratitude to God

God's gifts which enable us to be his musicians:

  • Creation of sound, creation of music

  • Our heart's desire for beauty, for expression

  • Our being in the right place at the right time to pursue

  • Our physical capabilities to use our hands, arms, lungs, etc.

  • Our mental capacities to think, concentrate, problem solve

  • Our perseverance, confidence, purpose, ad infinitum...

No one on earth can be a musician without God’s gifts,

whether or not they know their Source.

How easy it is to take our gifts for granted!

"I will give thanks to the Lord because of his righteousness and will sing praise to the name of the Lord Most High."* Psalm 7:17

Scripture reading

Read: I Samuel 16, the first appearance of David's life in the Bible.

 

Read this chapter twice. First, read as a historical narrative. Try to get into the scene. Second, read with an open heart to hear God speaking to you personally.

For discussion

King David was a very grateful musician. What can we learn from his life?

God orchestrated every event, every person to guide David into God's place for him, into David becoming "a man after God's heart."

What do we see in the lives of Samuel, Jesse, David’s brothers, Saul, Saul’s attendants, and in David himself?

Simplifying this mammoth question to the course at hand:

How did each one nudge David along the path to being King Saul's musician?

Some of these guys tried to hinder David, but God used each one to fulfill his good plan. 

Even the seemingly insignificant attendants played an essential role.

Ponder a moment

Our Gratitude to Others

What circumstances, events, or people has God put into your lives to guide you on your musical path?

  • Be aware of the miracle that you are a musician.

  • Make a list and thank God for each circumstance, event, or person.

  • Imagine how much more has influenced your musical life than you could possibly realize.

"Speak to one another with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ."  Ephesians 5:19-20

Ponder a moment

What defines a "psalm, hymn, and spiritual song"?

  • Do singing and making music in your heart to the Lord need words?

  • How can you make music always giving thanks to God?

  • Of course, your minds and fingers are busy, but can your music be within the attitude of a heart of gratitude?
     

Between 1829 and 1845, Felix Mendelssohn composed eight volumes of Leider ohne Worte. "What the music I love expresses to me, is not thought too indefinite to put into words, but on the contrary, too definite" (Mendelssohn's own italics). We would do well to listen to these piano pieces in our own private worship times.

Have a mind-flash

What would your life, day to day, month to month, year to year look like if you were not a musician?

Realizing what it might be like without music can make us more appreciative, more humbled, and more grateful for the gifts we have been given.

Gratitude Etudes

 

(Feel free to change your choices hourly.) [current BK choices]

 

  • Choose a piece which expresses your gratitude to God; listen and thank God all the way through.

[Beethoven's Pastoral Symphony]
 

  • Choose a composer for whom you are grateful.

[Schubert]

  • Choose a performer for whom you are grateful

[Elly Ameling]

  • Choose someone to thank for helping you to become a musician.

[Margery Baker]

  • Choose a piece for which you are grateful.

[Barber Adagio]

  • Meditate/pray listening to the piece, asking God to reveal himself to you in a deeper way.

               

A True Hymn

by George Herbert, 1593-1633

My Joy, my Life, my Crown!

My heart was meaning all the day.

Somewhat it fain would say,

And still it runneth muttering up and down

With only this: My Joy, my Life, my Crown!

Yet slight not these few words.

If truly said, they may take part

Among the best in art:

The finest which a hymn or psalm affords

Is when the soul unto the lines accords.*

He who craves all the mind,

And all the soul, and strength, and time,

If the words only rhyme,

Justly complains that somewhat is behind

To make his verse, or write a hymn in kind.

Whereas, if the heart be moved,

Although the verse be somewhat scant,

God doth supply the want;

As when the heart says, sighing to be approved,

'O could I love!' and stops, God writeth, 'Loved!'

Gratitude Exercises

  • Read the story of the 10 lepers in Luke 17:11-19.

  • Pray through Psalm 136 every day.

  • Thank someone for helping you

  • Write GRATITUDE on a paper and tape it to your music stand

*Italics are mine