By: Dreama Lovitt, Music Associate & Organist
A voice says, “Cry out.” And I said, “What shall I cry?”
“All men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field. The grass withers and the flowers fall, because the breath of the Lord blows upon them. Surely the people are grass. The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God stands forever.”
Don’t you love it when someone tells you to do something and, upon asking for clarification, you receive an indirect answer full of similes, metaphors, or analogies? Yet, surely we have all experienced the inability to answer a direct question because there are no specific words that would form the answer. This is when art comes into play. Where words fail, the painter creates an image, the musician a song, the poet a poem. And here, in this prophet’s play of words, we receive a brief poem for a reply. What shall I cry?
We head into winter, huddled in our sweaters and coats, breathing in the glorious, spicy scent of the falling leaves. Our summer gardens wither in the nighttime frost. The light grows short, the darkness longer. We are reminded of our brief span, our mortality. In this Advent, as we recall the sense of waiting, as we remember the world before the arrival of Jesus, we perhaps feel this all the more keenly. What shall I cry?
We could read the reply found in Isaiah and bemoan the frailty of our existence, but we are meant to find hope in the eternal. We are here but a moment, but God is Forever, a light in the darkness. We wither. We fall. But the word of God is our sense of the distant spring. The grass will rise again, green and happily waving in the sunlight. The flowers will blossom and bring joy and beauty again.
My prayerful music suggestion: Listen to Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, particularly “Winter” and “Spring”. Antonio Vivaldi, a Catholic priest, was certainly familiar with the book of Isaiah. In his exquisite depiction of the cycles of nature, where words fail, you will hear what Vivaldi ‘cried out’. Like grass and flowers, Vivaldi’s time is past. Yet, his cry still sounds today, an echo of God Eternal, as his works are performed in concert halls around the world, heard in movies and on the radio.
As you listen, consider and pray: How will/can we ‘cry out’ in our lives? How will/can we declare the glory and love and hope of God eternal?