A Box of Bones (thoughts on discovering life on the printed page of music)

A Box of Bones

My body will become a box of bones. Your body will become a box of bones. Who wants to look at a box of bones? Raised in a society which values 'every new thing', we may look at the hymnal tucked into its rack behind the next pew as a little musical mausoleum. Perhaps you have a newer edition with some choruses thrown in. Even these, codified, indexed and proper, seem to lose the sheen in the eyes, bound forever to a spineful of dead hymns from a bygone age.

Where, then, are the pages of life? Look to the black Manhasset music stands of the worship team. There you will find them – dog-eared sheets clinging to life by virtue of the power of current, audible music and a young society that sings them fervently. These songs live on individual sheets of copy paper, easily obtained and easily tossed. They stand and breathe by themselves, green and vigorous in their moments in the sun.

But one quiet afternoon an adventurous young musician, curious, visits the wooden pew rack and lifts the creaky gate-latch of the musical cemetery, perhaps thinking of a grandparent's hymn that she can't quite remember. She wanders among the headstones and fallen leaves, spotting some familiar names and numbers – 249, 518, 67. She notes, "Hmm... some of these writers died a hundred years before their poem was put to song." Not finding grandma's grave, she tries out the melodies of some of the others. Her soft voice floods an empty sanctuary with pale golden light.

Breath brings life. The bones of Hymn 237 quiver, begin to rattle, rejoin one another, stand up, take muscle and flesh and consciousness. With excitement she copies the resurrected song for worship team on Tuesday. The guitarist doesn't read notes, but struggles through some chording: "this is beautiful – where did you find it?"

They has discovered what Ezekiel 37 is about.

All that is needed for resurrection is one willing to breathe life into another.

Views: 20

Comment by Lorraine Doswell on September 25, 2010 at 6:25pm
This I like Greg, very much. May I ask, is this your work or taken from somewhere else? I feel I have to say this, you are very gifted in the way you write. I am sure you have been told this many times, but for what my opinion is worth, I would hope that you are using this beautiful gift, or if not, then you should be, as it is way too good to be wasted. Keep on writing : )

God Bless. Lorraine
Comment by Greg Moore on September 26, 2010 at 1:10am
Thank you, Lorraine. The "Box" was just something I thought up after sleeping on an article in Worship Leader magazine about newness and oldness and the shifting patterns of life. It woke me up at 5 a.m. (most 5 a.m. pieces read like bad dreams, but this one seemed to have some substance, an idea I felt worth developing). As a composer, my prose often "composes" words, and in recent years I've been doing a lot of writing, especially in essays, drama scripts and forums like WTR where I'm not limited by formats and expectations. I have been told by a number of people that I have a gift for writing, both in music and words. I do tend to write to situations; for instance, my theatre group is presenting a musical comedy about King Arthur, and the finale was just plain boring; so they asked me to take the text and make something better. Suddenly I found myself creating a red-hot urban Gospel thing with pieces of "A Mighty Fortess" blended in, and the children are singing it at the top of their lungs and dancing spontaneously. This song, by its nature, will never be used again, anywhere. But I've contributed this song to their lives.

In WTR, there are quite a few folks who write exquisitely, with meaning and passion. I feel privileged to be part of a forum where people can exchange ideas freely and build each other up. It seems to me that to "kibitz" in these discussions is one of the more valuable ways in which I can use a writer's gift. I do also have a number of essays and articles on worship that I've thought of posting on the Blog here -- thanks for your encouragement to do so!

In His Peace --
Comment by Lorraine Doswell on September 26, 2010 at 12:31pm
You are more than welcome Greg. Thanks for this posting too, it's great to hear of some of the stuff that you are doing with your writing - I love the King Arthur finale : )

I for one, do hope that you will post your articles on the Blog, I would dearly love to read them. I think sometimes the blogs get a bit forgotten about as they are not at the top of the page.

Watch this space! Keep 'em coming Greg. Have a lovely Sabbath. Lorraine


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