Chapter 21 » 21.38


In a broadcast Good Friday meditation given by an ex-colleague I was surprised to hear him speaking about the way in which listening to Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos had been the crucial factor in his recovery from a near fatal heart attack. He said that whenever he listened to them, on the Sony Walkman his son had given him, at whatever time of day or night, he could feel the atoms in his body rearranging themselves in response to the glorious order and freedom of Bach’s music. From the moment he began to listen to them his healing had begun.

For weeks after hearing that meditation I found myself reflecting on the way in which music acts as a restorative for me. I listened to the Brandenburg Concertos again and was aware of the stimulation to my own central nervous system. But then I noted that Frank Sinatra singing ‘New York, New York’, or Shirley Bassey singing ‘Don’t cry for me Argentina’ could have a similar effect. The raw energy of Tina Turner singing could, if I gave myself up to the rhythm, produce a responding surge of energy in me. I understand that students doing tests after listening to Mozart are reported to have better scores than when they do the tests without the warm-up.

The Holy Spirit can indeed restore us to health (or stimulate us to work well) through the medium of music as well as prayer or antibiotics! And why, indeed, should I be surprised that this is so? Creativity is the gift that we were given on the eighth day of creation. In naming and re-making the world we are co-workers with God, and whether we are making a garden or a meal, a painting or a piece of furniture or a computer program, we are sharing in an ongoing act of creation through which the world is constantly re-made.

Jo Farrow, 1994

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