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Friday, February 10, 2017

The Songs of Our Lives

Some couples have a theme song, a song that brings back all the romance of their early relationship. Others have adopted a song that defines them personally.

I look back over my life, and all kinds of songs define my memories. The church I grew up in had a choir that sang beautiful anthems of praise to God. I learned the old hymns: “Crown Him with Many Crowns;” “Holy, Holy, Holy;” “Immortal, Invisible, God Only Wise;” and many others.

My junior high friends were listening to The Monkees, Simon and Garfunkel, and Elvis Presley. The lyrics of “Scarborough Fair” with “parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme” probably reflect the “profound” nonsensical songs we knew.

In high school, a funny memory was a young man in study hall who sang “Sherry Baby” to my friend and jokingly asked both of us to marry him. I don’t even remember my own music choices!

I met my husband in a Christian college. We used to “date” in a huge room with furniture, called the parlor. If a song could define our dating, it would be one that we heard there, “Canon in D Major,” by Pachelbel. We think back to those days whenever we hear it.

A college roommate had a recording of the musical, Man of La Mancha (about Don Quixote), with “The Impossible Dream.” I’ve always loved the lyrics (though the theology is definitely off). I like the idea of always fighting for right no matter the cost, and the music is beautiful. Today, living in Spain, I’m a true fan of the legendary knight, Don Quixote.
“This is my quest
To follow that star
No matter how hopeless
No matter how far
To fight for the right
Without question or pause
To be willing to march into Hell
For a heavenly cause
And I know if I'll only be true
To this glorious quest
That my heart will lie peaceful and calm
When I'm laid to my rest
And the world will be better for this
That one man, scorned and covered with scars
Still strove with his last ounce of courage
To reach the unreachable star”*

In our wedding, we chose Bach’s “Sheep May Safely Graze” and “Joy of Man’s Desiring.” I don’t remember the processional. My mind was consumed with the handsome young man waiting at the end of the aisle!

Living in Spain when our kids were small, we used to take them to a restaurant just over the border into France, which was the only remotely American food we could find at the time. The restaurant was called Buffalo Grill, with a Western theme. Children ate free. Our kids loved a menu called steak haché avec frites. It came with a French-style house salad (with corn in it) that they enjoyed. While we ate, we listened to the only country music our kids had ever heard. How we laughed at “Pistol Packin’ Mama!”

We almost always listened to classical or sacred music in our home. We wanted our children to be exposed to the best music and to grow up loving it. We took them to classical concerts from the time they were quite small.

What song defines your life?

It’s amazing how much the Bible has to say on this theme. Read these verses:
  • The LORD is my strength and song, and he is become my salvation: he is my God, and I will prepare him an habitation; my father's God, and I will exalt him (Exodus 15:2).
  • Sing unto him a new song; play skilfully with a loud noise (Psalm 33:3).
  • And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the LORD (Psalm 40:3).
  • A Song and Psalm for the sons of Korah. Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised in the city of our God, in the mountain of his holiness (Psalm 48:1).
  • To the chief Musician, A Song or Psalm. Make a joyful noise unto God, all ye lands (Psalm 66:1).
  • A Psalm or Song for the sabbath day. It is a good thing to give thanks unto the LORD, and to sing praises unto thy name, O most High (Psalm 92:1).
  • O sing unto the LORD a new song: sing unto the LORD, all the earth (Psalm 96:1).
  • A Psalm. O sing unto the LORD a new song; for he hath done marvelous things: his right hand, and his holy arm, hath gotten him the victory (Psalm 98:1).
  • A Song or Psalm of David. O God, my heart is fixed; I will sing and give praise, even with my glory (Psalm 108:1).
  • I will sing a new song unto thee, O God: upon a psaltery and an instrument of ten strings will I sing praises unto thee (Psalm 144:9).
  • And they sung a new song, saying, Thou (Jesus) art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation (Revelation 5:9).
  • And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvelous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints (Revelation 15:3).
There are more Bible verses about the songs that believers sing. Notice that they have a common theme: praise to God. They praise Him for salvation, goodness, works, defense, refuge, and His holiness. Several verses speak of musical instruments accompanying the songs—even playing loudly! 

What should my “life song” be?

A hymn of praise and thankfulness to God.

“My hope is in the Lord
Who gave Himself for me,
And paid the price of all my sin at Calvary.
For me He died,
For me He lives,
And everlasting life and light He freely gives.”**

* “The Impossible Dream.” Music by Mitch Leigh and lyrics by Joe Darion.
** “My Hope is in The Lord,” by Norman J. Clayton.


  1. As I started reading, I thought about Pachelbel's Canon in D, and I was amused to see you cite it, too. :-) But I guess we did do most of our dating in that same room at college, so it makes sense.

    In addition to sacred and classical, we like Irish and English folk music (The Irish Tenors, The King's Singers) and some soundtracks and songs from musicals.

    1. We really enjoy Irish and The King's Singers, too. We added a few of those kinds of songs after the kids were teens. Oh yes, Canon in D was the one we'll never forget!


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