Music fit for a King

It was heavenly music, fit for a king.

Or, in this case, a President.

And it moved me, too. "Air and Simple Gifts", arranged by John Williams, was the musical selection played yesterday at President Obama’s Inauguration.

It incorporated a traditional Shaker dance song “Simple Gifts”. I've seen Shakers sing and dance at a Shaker village—it is a wondrously worshipful event.

So not surprisingly, “Air and Simple Gifts” called forth a spirit of worship. As I listened, I was overwhelmed at the beauty of God’s creation of music, and the way He infuses that gift into His children. I could do no less than praise our Father as I listened to His work of art overflowing from His living creations.

The four musicians also beautifully represented the diversity of God’s handiwork around the world.
  • Itzhak Perlman (violin): born in Tel Aviv
  • Yo-Yo Ma (cello): born in Paris to Chinese parents
  • Anthony McGill (clarinet): an African-American from Chicago, Illinois
  • Gabriela Montero (piano): a native of Venezuela
Just as David’s music soothed the soul of King Saul thousands of years ago (1 Samuel 16:16-23), so music today still saturates our souls. May we graciously accept this simple gift from God’s hand, through music, to our ears, gripping our hearts, as He continually refreshes us with it.

And may we play back His music for Him often, music fit for our Eternal King.



Simple Gifts
Written by Shaker Elder Joseph Brackett, Jr.
1848.

'Tis the gift to be simple,
'Tis the gift to be free,
'Tis the gift to come down where you ought to be,
And when we find ourselves in the place just right,
It will be in the valley of love and delight.

Refrain:
When true simplicity is gained,
To bow and to bend we shan't be ashamed.
To turn, turn will be our delight,
'Til by turning, turning we come round right.

[These two verses added later:]

'Tis the gift to be loved and that love to return,
'Tis the gift to be taught and a richer gift to learn,
And when we expect of others what we try to live each day,
Then we'll all live together and we'll all learn to say,

Refrain

'Tis the gift to have friends and a true friend to be,
'Tis the gift to think of others not to only think of "me",
And when we hear what others really think and really feel,
Then we'll all live together with a love that is real.

Refrain

1 comment:

Lisa said...

Okay, so now we all know that the music we heard was taped the day before. But so what? It was still the same musicians, same notes, same playing on that day. I still get it. And am grateful.

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