Surrounded by Your glory What will my heart feel Will I dance for you Jesus Or in awe of You be still Will I stand in your presence Or to my knees will I fall Will I sing hallelujah Will I be able to speak at all?It moved me to tears as did the movie; I had a strong visceral reaction and was glad I was by myself so I could cry in peace. I have dedicated much of my life to singing and writing Christian music; it is the form of prayer I use to melt my hardened heart, chase away anger and discouragement, to feel and to show my love to God. Amy Grant was my influence; knowing that she played a part in this story drew me to see the movie. When I realized that Arthur’s heart had been opened by his son’s rendition of “Amazing Grace” my own heart burned with deep longing that all people could know the power of music in bringing them closer to God. It saddens me to think that many Catholics lock sacred music away in the church building. It is often not associated with a form of prayer that can accompany you wherever you go thanks to the miracle of technology. I often use singing as a way to work through feelings of anger and resentment. When I have those feelings or my faith life runs dry, I turn to music as a way to reconnect to God. And I long for others to know that secret! Thanks to YouTube, much beautiful Christian music is available free of charge. One can listen to a wide variety from classical to contemporary. You can sing along in the car, listen while at work, or use it for inspiration as you clean house or prepare dinner. And just like Arthur in “I Can Only Imagine,” your heart can be changed. Bart Millard used his gift of music to write the song of a lifetime, bringing him fame and fortune. But I am certain that he knows the greater success came when his father heard him sing “Amazing Grace.” Millard answered the call to pursue music as his vocation despite all the hardship of such a calling. In the end, God granted him the privilege of singing his megahit for the first time at Amy Grant’s concert (thanks to her generous heart) in front of a sold-out crowd. And as he sang, he imagined seeing dad, in glory, in heaven, waiting for their eventual reunion. Take a moment and search for either “sacred music” or “Christian music” on YouTube and give these songs a listen. Let the words lead you into meditation and allow the melody to soften your heart. There is a reason why St. Augustine said that singing is praying twice. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZNDEyxEMNp0 Whether you are a musician or one who loves the song, I highly recommend seeing “I Can Only Imagine.”
Copyright 2018 Susan W. Bailey
About the Author
Susan Bailey is the author of River of Grace: Creative Passages Through Difficult Times (Ave Maria Press), and Louisa May Alcott: Illuminated by The Message (ACTA Publications), part of their Literary Portals to Prayer series. Along with her blogs Be as One and Louisa May Alcott is My Passion, Susan writes for the Diocese of Worcester newspaper, The Catholic Free Press.