This line, “Music is what God wants us to do…” comes from the song, “Anything You Want,” from the live CD Jason Mraz’s Beautiful Mess Live. I’m thinking of it because it caught my attention on Monday night during the opening concert of his Fall 2010 Tour (www.jasonmraz.com), which took place in my hometown, Utica, NY. My brothers and I went to the show to celebrate my youngest brother’s birthday.
Mraz is one of my favorite musicians and song writers (if not the favorite!). As a musician myself, I tend to be rather attentive to the music before the lyrics of any given piece. One thing that has always impressed me about Mraz’s work is the variety of the music. He can be very creative. He’s also an incredibly talented vocalist, one with a superb range and quality. Think opera singer who is also a great guitarist with a fantastic band.
Music is indeed a way to connect with God and become more aware of the beauty of the world in which we live. Mraz’s line about music as that which God wants us to do is so true. In recent years several theologians have returned to music as a medium of theological reflection. I’m thinking particularly of Catherine Pickstock from the University of Cambridge, but there are others. One young theologian who has done some work in this area is Brian Robinette of St. Louis University.
It’s curious that so many theologians are also musicians. Here I think of people like the current Pope, Benedict XVI, a well-respected systematic theologian in his own right, is also quite a classical pianist.
On the theme of music, christian speaker Rob Bell has done a rather insightful little video in his nooma video series on how he imagines God to be like a song – – the name of the video is “Rhythm.”
The next time you listen to some really good music, especially really good live music (I should mention I’ve seen Jason Mraz 9 times in concert so far – talk about good live music!), reflect on the way it makes you feel and where God might be in the midst of that. Think about what a gift music is to the world.