Monday, October 01, 2012

Gregorian Chant & the Presence of God

Back in the 1980s I used to regularly listen to Gregorian Chant during extended times of prayer. I prayed a lot in wildlife areas around the Lansing (MI) area. Gregorian Chants often accompanied me. These were years of powerfully and personally experiencing the presence of God.

Music forms a framework through which to view life. For example, I watching (for the ___th time?) one of the Bourne movies a few nights ago. There's Jason Bourne, limping through the streets of some foreign city. The Bourne music was playing. I thought, "If this music wasn't playing I'm justing watching some guy limp along the sidewalk." But add the music, and it interprets the scene. Now things are dangerous and dramatic. If we changed the music to "Stayin' Alive" Bourne would look different. Or, imagine the injured Bourne plodding along to the music of "I Believe I Can Fly."

What we listen to frames and interprets reality for us; indeed, we get interpreted as we listen to music. What's happening to me today is this. I'm going out for some prayer time, in my yard back by the river. I'm putting Gregorian Chant on my mp3 player. I am being taken into a place of expectation, a world where God has met me may times before, an environment of expectation and quiet when I know God, viscerally and experientially. Now things are dangerous, dramatic, engaging, alive... as this world truly is.