Everyday Encounter with God

Pastor Sylvia's Encounters with God in the Midst of Everyday Life


Music That Makes Us Weep

In 1977 NASA launched Voyagers 1 and 2. Uncertain of their eventual destination, who or what they might encounter, a recording called “The Sounds of Earth,” was attached to them. It was a message from earth to any intelligent entity they might intersect.

Voyager’s “Golden Record” included sounds of nature, greetings in 55 languages, a human heartbeat, and musical selections from many different cultures.  The final piece of music was a piece from Beethoven called “The Cavatina.” It seems to be an odd choice. The music is sad, and in the margin of the original score Beethoven wrote “Longing.”

The Creative Director explained that she wanted to capture the great longing each of us feels as a people. It’s as if NASA was saying, “This is who and what we are as human beings. We are creatures of longing.” The implicit question asks possible extraterrestrials, “Do you feel this longing too? Or are we the only ones?”

As humans, we share a universal desire to know if there is more for us. Is this all there is?

If we are honest, there are times in all of our lives when we look around and wonder, "Why do I feel the way I do?"  Sometimes it is just a passing question, other times it lingers for awhile.  Something seems to be missing.

Our restless search for something more can cause us to make some very unwise decisions. A new job turns out to be worse than the one we left. We struggle to pay for the new car we didn’t really need. A new significant other doesn’t understand us any better than the one we left.

But the truth is that nothing of eternal significance changes because life isn’t about our restless desires; it’s about our deep longing.

When we search for more, it usually means that we have settled for superficial. We have become comfortable living on the surface. We haven’t gone deep in a very long time. We haven’t put ourselves in a position where we need God; we’ve done it all on our own.  Even when we pray, do we really wait upon the Lord before doing things our way?

Life is easier, more efficient, and even culturally rewarded if we avoid the tough issues that could push us into potential discomfort. A half-filled life is bland, but it is safe.

This restless searching, the longing for more, and our desire for meaning are rarely answered by changed circumstances. The true answer is found when we have the courage to seek God's will in our life.

This is the liturgical season when the church encourages personal introspection prior to Easter’s celebration. This is my 2018 contemplation:

  • I don’t need to see new things; I need to see the world with new eyes.

  • I don’t need to hear a different voice; I need to hear the unchanging voice of God through different ears.

  • I don’t need to escape the circumstances of my life; I need to be more fully present in those circumstances.

Most of us seek God when things get tough. We want Him to show up and do something. There’s nothing wrong with that. We serve a God of action who wants to be part of our lives. But beseeching Him in our moments of fear is only a small part of a spiritual journey.

God’s real will is that we invite Him to transform our half-hearted life to one that is over-flowing with deep meaning and holiness.

Beethoven reportedly said The Cavatina was the only music he ever wrote that made him weep.