As someone who is surrounded by music, whether composing, playing, or directing, I am often seeing areas where the musical life parallels the spiritual life. Now, for most of us, we could look to music that praises and worships God. It is important, both within mass and outside of mass to use this God-given music for such a purpose. But what about when we look deeper?

One thing that has always intrigued me in music is consonance and dissonance. Consonance refers to how pleasing (prosperous) particular musical effects sound, and dissonance refers to how much tension (harm) is created/released. With tension there comes an anticipation (hope) of a resolve. The use of these two elements guides the direction (future) of the piece and the quality and depth of its thoughtfulness. Growing up, we start with very simple and predictable music (i.e. Mary Had a Little Lamb). As we grow and mature, so do our music tastes advance. From there, songs like Hot Cross Buns seem boring and we seek to challenge our musical ears.

Sometimes, when faced with certain difficulties and trials and life, we tend to point the finger at God and ask, “Why?”. I recently shared this same emotion in light of recent tragedies. Instead of examining isolated incidents, what else could be going on? Could this mean something else?

I’d like to propose a musical experiment. If you are around a piano, try playing the notes B and C together. The first thing you may notice is how awful these two notes sound! The dissonance of this combination is overwhelming. Now, play those notes with an A below the two notes and an E above. What you’ll discover is a beautiful chord, where the dissonance is now the richest part! Sometimes, rather than focusing on the small events, look at the greater picture, and you will likely find God working something wonderful in your life. How can we know what God has in store for our lives? These other notes that give meaning to the dissonance can be symbolic for our need for both God and Community in tough times, and emphasize our importance in being there for others. It is through these “dissonances” that the Lord challenges us, matures us, teaches us, and allows us to grow in Him.

Jeremiah 29:11 ” For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.