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Where Words Fail, Music Speaks

Where Words Fail, Music Speaks

He is making all things new. Springs of living water shall wash away each tear.

by Don McAvoy on September 07, 2022

For the first dozen or so years of my ministry in the church, I politely nodded in silence or shyly admitted that I wasn’t born when JFK was assassinated. For many of a certain age, that was an iconic historical moment against which all other time seemed to be measured. After 9/11/2001, I finally understood what it means to have a calendar date that measures time. As we are now 21 years on the other side of that fateful day, I still remember details about that morning and the days that followed. “God is Our Refuge and Strength” (Psalm 46) became our choir’s substitute anthem for that first Sunday after 9/11 when I was at Coker UMC in San Antonio. Not surprising, it was also the choice for Bethany UMC (and First UMC, Kerrville and Christ UMC, College Station – my former churches!). The final choir statement is a defiant – WE WILL NOT FEAR!

Dutch author Hans Christian Andersen once said, “Where words fail, music speaks.” I suspect that young people today will remember the Covid-19 Pandemic as their defining historical moment. During the last couple of years, composers sat at home with lots of time and pent up inspiration. Iowa musician Elaine Hagenberg is a composer that I only recently discovered. One of her newest compositions is entitled “All Things New” – a reference to Revelation 21:5-6. When I first heard her music, I was captivated by the care and detail with which she used music to perfectly amplify a text. This weekend, the Bethany Choir will sing “All Things New” – a song of eternal hope written during the pandemic and debuted for us on the anniversary of 9/11. Where words fail to capture the appropriate gravitas of these historical events, may this music speak a Deep & Wide, and ever-abundant, peace:

Light after darkness, gain after loss
Strength after weakness, crown after cross;
Sweet after bitter, hope after fears
Home after wandering, praise after tears

Alpha and Omega
Beginning and the end
He is making all things new
Springs of living water
Shall wash away each tear
He is making all things new

Sight after mystery, sun after rain
Joy after sorrow, peace after pain;
Near after distant, gleam after gloom
Love after loneliness, life after tomb

Pastor Don

Tags: music, words, eternal hope

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