The Uncommon Christ series explores lesser-known scriptural names and titles for Jesus Christ.
After parting and crossing the Red Sea, delivering the Israelites to safety, Moses sang of the miraculous events, referring to Jehovah as "My Song" (Exodus 15:2).
I'll never forget the day my grandfather sang.
Dementia left him living in a care center, sitting unresponsive in a wheelchair, shoulders stooped so low I couldn’t see his eyes—eyes that in my youth were always sparkling with mischief and teasing, now listlessly staring at the floor. I never knew what to say, or if he even knew I was there. Or who I was.
Once Mom and I sang for him. (He'd enjoyed music throughout his life and for years sang bass in a barbershop choir.) As we sang, I noticed a low, rumbly sound coming from his corner of the room. The words were slurred, but he was unquestionably singing the bass line! Though many things had failed him, music hadn’t. It was seared into his soul.
According to Elena Mannes, an award-winning documentary writer and director, “scientists have found that music stimulates more parts of the brain than any other human function” (1). More than any other thing! No wonder music is used everywhere! It helps us learn, remember, feel, understand, connect, heal.
“Music evokes emotion, and emotion can bring with it memory. … It brings back the feeling of life when nothing else can.” Dr. Oliver Sacks, neurologist (2)
This not only explains my grandpa's singing, it's also a powerful metaphor for Jesus Christ. He is our Song, and His reach extends beyond both consciousness and the present moment. Like music, He connects with us on a deep, expressive level that moves us and leaves a lasting imprint.
The Lord was Moses’s Song because He provided the reason for the song: miracles, courage, strength. When we feel to deeply praise or worship Jesus Christ, music is a powerful tool.
“Then sings my soul, my Savior God to Thee, How great Thou art!” (Hymns, no. 86). Singing songs like this make my spirit soar in gratitude and adoration. But what if you’re tone deaf, or music isn’t always able to express your deepest thoughts or feelings? Fortunately, “Jesus listening can hear [even] the songs I cannot sing” (Hymns, no. 227).
Jesus is our Song in another way: by metaphorically providing songs of peace, hope, and joy. In more than one place, scriptures mention the Lord offering songs “in the night” (3)—spiritual lullabies for the weary soul.
What songs, literal or figurative, soothe you in your long, dark nights?
Which ones connect you at your very core to praising the Lord?
He is our Song. In return, "let all within us praise His holy name"! (4)
Mannes, The Power of Music: Pioneering Discoveries in the New Science of Song, Bloomsbury USA; Reprint edition (January 29, 2013).
Tabernacle Choir Blog, February 1, 2018
Job 35:10; see also Ps. 42:8, NIV
"O Holy Night," lyrics by Placide Cappeau (1843), English version by John Sullivan Dwight.