Music and Solidarity


Christmas seems to be the most stressful time of the year but also the most peaceful time of the year.

The last couple weeks have been very busy and stressful and the friends from home that I’ve started losing contact with can probably tell. Last Thursday night was filled with a lot of running around, giving short answers, ignoring text messages, worrying about deadlines and bloodshot eyes. At one point in the night my church was having a rehearsal for our annual Christmas night where various members of the church performed whatever they liked. I decided to pause at one point and listen to a young boy rehearse a Christmas medley he was going to play on piano. In that moment I felt a shift in reality. Everything that was running around my brain and wrestling to make it to the top of the priority list suddenly stopped and rested. Suddenly my Christmas confusion evaporated and everything started to make sense.

I realized that’s what music is for us. It’s a voice from the other side of the chaos, reflecting on the chaos, reminding us that things can make sense when you’re on the other side. It’s a moment of solidarity with our planet as it steps outside to perceive itself for a moment. Suddenly everything we thought was dreadfully important can fit into our pockets and every annoyance disappears.

I think this might also explain people’s protectiveness of their music. My friend, David commented that if you make fun of someone’s mom, they laugh, but if you make fun of their music you practically lose the friendship. Music is our way of escape from the chaos and into a world of perception of the world, giving us a bird’s eye view of what makes sense. If you make fun of someone’s music, you are suggesting that the place of escape for them is not real.

In line on Black Friday I overheard a conversation of a guy informing his friend that this guy doesn’t like him anymore because he said he hated the band he got a tattoo of. In his defense, he said he never told him he hated the band. His defense didn’t matter though. The decision was already made.

The same night, my friend, Frank and I ran around the Best Buy parking lot meeting new people and we met a girl named Jennifer. We spent the rest of the night together and at one point we got onto the topic of music and our anxiety was released. When we would get on a topic of a band all three of us enjoyed we excitedly went on and on about the band. When we talked about a band only two of us liked the third person kind of just awkwardly stood there, aware that the moment of solidarity was paused for the moment, waiting for the next topic of relation.

I was at the Bella Terra shopping center the other day and there was a crowd surrounding the giant Christmas tree. There was a band of teenagers playing Christmas music (which I took a picture of) but their set had just ended. A girl with auburn hair, a blue sweater and burgundy tights walked on the stage and sat on a little stool with her acoustic guitar (which I wish I took a picture of). The girl played her guitar and sung about love as the fake snow fell around us from the machines above and I felt a shift in reality. Everyone around me was talking and yelling about the most random things but my mind muted and blocked them out the second the girl and I made eye contact for a short moment. It wasn’t in a romantic way but I felt a moment of solidarity with her. Random families and friends were blabbing around us while she sang a song that took us to another world; a world of reflection, a world of regret, a world of happiness, a world of peace. The world around me was forced to pause in that moment of solidarity.

The song ended and suddenly the world returned as the audience began applauding. I was suddenly thrown back into reality when I checked my phone and saw two missed calls from my friend, Candace wondering where I was.

Music matters immensely.

I am currently in an internship, taking online classes from a Bible college, volunteering in a church and the community, and studying to start a church one day. I believe God has called me to start one and be the pastor of that church. For those of you that know me you know very well that this future church is going to look different. In the years leading up to it, I am figuring out what that might look like. One of the things I am figuring out is how to connect things that we have separated out of fear or confusion.

One of those things I believe is music. If music is our way of escape then that means we live in two worlds. One is the chaotic to-do list of frustration and achievement, the other is the peaceful break from reality that is scored by our favorite song. I’ve been thinking of how to connect these two worlds. The answer isn’t worship. The answer lies in what the music actually does for people. The answer is forming a community that IS the music that brings a moment of solidarity with the world. This is what I am currently trying to wrestle with. Any thoughts of your own?