Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Music as an act of worship, A devotional written by Ellie

My guest today, Ellie, has a unique but perhaps common take on music--she sees it as an "act of worship." Curious to know why? Read on and enjoy this devotional written by the same woman who writes novels for the Christian book market! :)

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An Act of Worship
A devotional written by Eleanor K. Gustafson a.k.a. “Ellie”

I sometimes listen to high and holy music, such as John Rutter’s Gloria. A deliberate act, done alone, with no one watching—no one to see the first tears that turn into violent sobs. No one to see but God.

A deliberate act of worship.

I sit in the middle of that musical maelstrom, caught up, whirled around, shaken and wrung, emptied of self and filled with the glory of God that burst through the temporary tear in the fabric of the universe.

I don’t do this often. Such moments of pure worship cannot be borne easily. They exact a cost, as Daniel and Ezekiel and other prophets well knew. In Daniel’s encounter with a heavenly being, he says, “I was left alone, gazing at this great vision; I had no strength left, my face turned deathly pale and I was helpless.” (Daniel 10:8) The angel began speaking to Daniel, but the latter cried, “I am overcome with anguish because of the vision, and I am helpless. How can I, your servant, talk with you, my lord? My strength is gone, and I can hardly breathe." (Daniel 10:16, 17) After at least one of his visions, Daniel lay exhausted and ill for several days. (Daniel 8:27)

Prophets in general were prickly—not the sort you’d invite to afternoon tea. But when you consider their occupational hazards—Moses’ thunderbolts atop Mt. Sinai, Ezekiel’s UFOs, Isaiah’s burning coals—we can understand their lack of patience for banalities. Standing as they did at the interface of heaven and earth, such details as an altered order of worship or too-loud drums wouldn’t have mattered to them.

Worship music is different for different people. People who love contemporary praise songs might hold their ears against Rutter, whereas Rutter lovers are often bored by praise songs. I often find myself weeping through praise music, as well as classical, but then, God seems to have given me the gift of tears.

Might I suggest that the higher we reach both spiritually and musically, the closer we get to heaven’s musical interface. God spoke music into the world; music continues to speak his word.

God’s musical language penetrates every fiber and bone of my body. It is physical. It is emotional. It is spiritual. It knows me. It finds my weaknesses. It cannot remove weaknesses; only the blood of Jesus can do that. It can only touch sore points and make me weep. It gathers all human sorrows and joys from every land and every time. I see these sorrows and joys and cry out, “Lord God, King of heaven, thou that takest away the sins of the world, have mercy upon us.”

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Author bio:
Ellie grew up in Branchville, N.J. in a county that had more cows than people. She loved horses and the annual County Farm and Horse Show.

Ellie studied music at Wheaton College in Illinois until she "shoved off of music, tried on the cloak of writing and found that it fit quite well."

"God first touched me through a story, and he has molded and kneaded me all my life," Ellie said. "I love Him passionately." A writer of huge influence on Ellie's life is Eugene Peterson. "His books are meaty and challenging," she said. "Having endorsed my novel on King David, The Stones, he is my forever friend."

Ellie and her husband enjoy their 3 kids and 8 grandchildren. Ellie's husband works as a pastor, college professor, tree farmer, organist, writer, etc.

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Buy Ellie's books:
The Stones: A Novel of the Life of King David - http://amzn.to/1Pbpm4P

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Connect with Ellie:
E-mail - egus@me.com
Website - www.eleanorgustafson.com

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