Devotions for June, Entry 13 {aesthetic}

You alone are the Lord. You made the heavens, even the highest heavens, and all their starry host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them. You give life to everything, and the multitudes of heaven worship you. Nehemiah 9:6

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One thing I love about music is that it is both aesthetic and functional.  Sometimes it’s more important for music to serve a functional purpose (keeping time, providing structure) and other times music serves an aesthetic purpose, to warm or enthrall others with its beauty.

This aspect is used in music therapy. It’s called: music in therapy vs. music as therapy. For music in therapy, the music is used functionally to promote socialization or memory recall or provide an opportunity for self-expression, among countless other outcomes. For music as therapy, the music itself serves as the prime vehicle for improvement. For example, if I sing a song with a patient with Alzheimer’s who tends to be withdrawn and afterwards they smile at me and express an emotion, I’ve used music in therapy for mood enhancement and self-expression. But, if that same patient is restless due to extreme pain and they need distracted until the pain meds kick in, I use music as therapy – the music itself is the aid, not the reaction from the music.

I like that God is artistic. He didn’t just make things functional and leave it at that. He gave us beauty to admire. I was recently at a Gungor concert (my first). Holy cow, it was the most unbelievably talented, creative, innovative group of musicians I’ve heard in a long time. Particularly for being a Christian band (sorry, it’s true.) What struck me was that they didn’t pray during the show or talk about God, they just played their music. And that was worship for me. I stood there in wonder of God because of how amazing the music was.

I think music can be used in worship like it can be used in therapy. It can be music in worship, or music as worship. Sometimes music is the mechanism we use to tune into the Holy Spirit. But sometimes the music itself is the Holy Spirit encounter.

And I would like to emphasize that it doesn’t have to be worship music. Case in point, below is one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever heard:

p.s. there will be a full moon tonight! I love full moons. 

 

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