By: Madeleine “Maddie” Jomolca
“Music is what feelings sound like”, it is said. – “It speaks what cannot be expressed, soothes the mind and gives it rest”. Martin Luther said that “next to the word of God, music deserves the highest praise”. I agree; it is all that, and more. And still, a favorite excerpt I recently picked up: “Behind every girls’ favorite song, there is a story”, truly hit home for me.
Many of us, I dare say, the majority of us, can naturally and comparably correlate and connect with music. From infant-hood to adulthood, music has, no doubt, in some powerful, seemingly magical way, been a contributing influence to the shaping and molding of our individuality. Music is indeed, uniquely wonderful. It is incapable of being touched, yet it touches everyone who is capable of hearing sounds. – And while many scholars attempt to credit its origination with a descendant of Cain named Jubal (Genesis 4:21). However, the Bible actually indicates that the first man knew and practiced music. What’s more, music existed LONG BEFORE ADAM. (Job 38:4, 7)
Music, for me, has played many, extended roles and while music is clearly GODS UNIVERSAL LANGUAGE, not all of them were positive. For most of my youth, music was, in fact and literally a pain killer during an obscure time when some adults were blurring and distorting boundaries. Ironically, because we inherently tend to descend into greater misery when already distressed, I remember, profoundly losing myself into the lyrics of every heartbreaking song. The same dejected vibe took a more erotic turn that carried out into my early adulthood with the rising of the “South Beach” dance clubs and nightlife.
But music and performing (singing), was and is overall a primary source of great joy, beginning from the time I was a toddler. We, my four siblings and I, were routinely serenaded by my mother’s beautiful, soft Doris Day melodies, accompanied by my father’s opera-like rendition thereof at dinnertime, while we hummed along, usually urging them to repeat the song over and over, while synchronically banging our spoons on the dinner table. As a young girl, I used to bang on one of my father’s antique pieces (a large metal cowbell) while skipping around the dinner table (sounds neurotic, I know!), singing patriotic songs in an effort to make light of familial discord… It worked every time! Later, as a teen, I was typically made to sing for guests, and enjoyed creating cassettes for friends and family of my recorded songs- (Yes, I said “cassettes” – I went there!). and then later sang in talent shows, with choirs and at select events, while sporadically training vocally (and on guitar) throughout the years. Up until recently, in fact, any thought(s) (or dream) formulated around the possibility of further developing, exploring, or pursuing my musical talent, much like my late mother’s life-long desire to be a writer and actress, vanished nearly as quickly as it emerged; there were, as a single mom, especially, ALWAYS other priorities. And it was, and is okay with me. God, however, as I have now come to recognize, does not share my passivity on the matter. He has, over the years, wasted no opportunity to make me identify with His plan over my life.
It was about twenty-five years ago when it first appeared to me. I was awakened by my doorbell and a pesky dog (mine!) bark one Sunday morning, when I sat up in bed, and there it was! – The perfect treble clef, also known “G” clef, which had formed on the carpet next to my closet, from the extension cord of my iron left out from the previous night. There was no mistake or room for false interpretation of its precise formation either. In fact, when I invited my friends in, and pointed it out, neither of them hesitated to call it out… “a treble clef” – hands down! And much like this one, there was soon thereafter, a continual succession of exactly shaped clefs that made their way into my life… From extension cords, to garden hoses, to cloud formations, and leaves on the ground, to hair ties and headbands (just last week!) and the list goes on; somebody, somewhere, was trying, wholly, to send a message. The question is – Where was it coming from?
We know, through Scripture, that music itself was created by God, long before the creation of man. In fact, as noted previously, we know, as revealed in Job, that “when the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy.” (Job 38:4, 7). This not only reveals that God created angels before He created Earth, but also that they witnessed this magnificent moment, that they shouted for joy, and that they were SINGING!
But here is where my confusion, self-doubt and questioning came into play. We know that God intended music for good, equipping and gifting the angels with special abilities and skills, and one such angel – Lucifer, was indeed endowed with tremendous musical abilities, beyond human capability, in fact. Some bible scholars have depicted him as a once “beautiful, magnificent, and wise spirit being” and “the master orchestrator of music appointed by God, in the heavens’. Yet, as with all else, when Lucifer (Satan) rebelled against God, Lucifer’s music became warped and distorted when he turned from God’s way, as is evident in some of the song lyrics and lives of musicians today. Just before the description of Lucifer’s fall, Isaiah 14:11 talks about the “noise” of his neballim—another instrument, perhaps like bagpipes—being brought to the ground.
This knowledge, along with the continual rise and fall of several would-be Christian artists caused became more and more weary and unresponsive to the message I was receiving, and so in an effort to make sense of it all, I decided to venture out and explore not only the musical evolvement and meaning behind the treble clef, but also, and more importantly its, spiritual meaning… its correlation with God.
The treble clef, is also referred to the “G” clef because it denotes the place on a musical staff where that key (G) begins, and how, subsequently every other key will be played and heard thereafter. It is further defined as “relating to or having the highest part, voice, or range. Tones whose frequency or range is at the higher end of human hearing.”
The word “clef” is a French word which means “key.” A key is an important item that gives its owner access to and authority over restricted information. The word “key” also portrays the importance or significance of something. I believe that God speaks to us not only through the lyrics of songs, but more so and primarily in the structure and composition of the music itself.
For example, when pondering all of the musical facts about the G-clef, I can conclude that spiritually, the “G” note can symbolize two markedly, significant components which are key to all human life: “God” (the highest part of all of mankind and humanity) and “grace”, or God’s grace. When I think of this key, the mighty “G’, I cannot help but think of the profound, overwhelming sense of “gratitude” that saturates my very soul when I listen to and/or sing along to worship songs.
In a recent post by a fellow brother-in Christ and music student, Louima wrote:
“Gratitude is the lens through which we should view every circumstance, situation, issue, and decision in life because a thankful heart leads to joy and contentment. When it is absent, uninvited guests such as entitlement, jealousy, grumbling, hate speech, scorn, greed, rage, and depression come crashing the party of our hearts, turning us into miserable creatures.”
With every note, every lyric, and every beat in a worship song, I am ever-so humbled with appreciation and my eyes well-up before my Savior and King in unwavering gratitude, because to this day, I still cannot believe that He chose me. – sinful, imperfect and undeserving … me.
And so it is because of God’s grace that I have been given a new song, when my hallelujah was tired and faded; and it a grateful heart that I, despite the hard work and possibly challenges that lie ahead of me, have decided to take my gift seriously and further my education and develop my musical talents and more importantly use them to bring glory to God. – And it is with both grace and gratitude that I will, regardless of song or genre, sing and play music that is both pleasing and honoring to my King.
“I will sing to the LORD all my life; I will sing praise to my God as long as I live.” ~ Psalm 104:33
Maddie Jomolca is a conservative, Christian writer whose purpose for writing is to inform, inspire, and unite. A student of Communications and the Arts (Music), her special areas of journalism include International Affairs, Entertainment, Religion & Worldviews, and the inspiring come-to-Jesus testimonials of others. As a former “diversion” junkie, turned avid health & fitness enthusiast; creator of “Firm Believers” group and Personal Trainer -Maddie Jomolca combines clean eating, good exercise habits, and godly behavior. (1 Corin. 6:19-20)