The music world is full of folks (composers, conductors, performers) trying to experience the transcendent by means of music. Just this past week, my students laughed as we discussed a well-known composer trying to describe the appeal and power of music in terms that teetered on the mystical, the pantheistic, the almost-religious. The author of this piece, then, caught my attention the other day by citing  the following C.S. Lewis lines:

“Nature ‘dies’ on those who try to live for a love of nature. Coleridge ended by being insensible to her; Wordsworth, by lamenting that the glory had passed away. Say your prayers in a garden early, ignoring steadfastly the dew, the birds and the flowers, and you will come away overwhelmed by its freshness and joy; go there in order to be overwhelmed and, after a certain age, nine times out of ten nothing will happen to you.”

In his chapter of Worldliness (ed. CJ Mahaney, Crossway 2008, p. 89), Bob Kauflin shares another Lewis quote:

“The books or the music in which we thought the beauty was located will betray us if we trust to them….For they are not the thing itself; they are only the scent of a flower we have not found, the echo of a tune we have not heard, news from a country we have never yet visited.”

…and then follows up with these remarks (emphasis mine):

“No music, however beautiful, however impressive, however technologically creative or emotionally moving, can rival the wonder and breathtaking beauty of the Savior, who came as a man to live a perfect life and die an atoning death in our place.

[…] Music is no longer ours to use however we want. It never was. It was never meant to provide what can be found only in a relationship with the Savior.

Music is a precious gift, but it makes a terrible god.

By God’s grace, may we always know the difference.”