This morning, I came across a Facebook video of a Swedish soul/gospel singer who stunned Kirk Franklin and his musicians at a concert with his rendition of “Don’t Cry.” This is one of my favorite Kirk Franklin songs, for a number of reasons, so – of course – I had to then go listen to the original recording. Just seconds into it, I was sucked in by the chord structures. There are so many dissonant chords in this song, and they are jarring and beautiful all at once. This is one of the reasons that I love this song. As I reflected on that, I was reminded of some thoughts I’d journaled a few years ago on a trip to the Middle East. At the time I wrote the reflection, it was my second morning in Nazareth, after having spent previous days in Cairo, Egypt and Amman, Jordan. Still to come in the trip was time in Jerusalem and other areas throughout Israel and Palestine. I think that the words I wrote are still relevant today, not just for that region but for my context here in the United States. I want to share them with you in hopes that you will be encouraged to seek out beauty in the chaos around you. I think this is what helps us maintain our humanity.
October 26, 2015
This morning, the first song I found myself dwelling on is “Great is Thy Faithfulness.” One of the things I absolutely love the most about this song is the tritone – it happens at the end of the chorus, in the interval between “un – to.” In the early days of Western music, the tritone was considered “the devil’s chord.” Yet, I love the sound of it. It’s the same as how I love to hear intentionally dissonant chords. There is such beauty in that musical chaos. And I think it’s the same for our world.
There are ugly things happening all around the world. But I believe that in the midst of that pain, hatred, anger, ugliness . . . there is BEAUTY . . . we just have to look and listen for it. And celebrate it when we find it. And we will find it. It’s there.