Singing the Earth's Song (Rev. Lou Snead)
Singing the Earth's Song
Since music is a unique form of human expression that captures the whole range of our emotions, thoughts, and dreams, it should not be surprising that reflections on the importance and well-being of the earth would show up in hymns, songs and our musical histories. For me, the old hymn entitled “For the Beauty of the Earth” echoed an early awareness of the gift of this planet we inhabit as part of God's creation. Just as the environmental movement was beginning in the early 1960's some of us remember hearing Marvin Gaye singing “Mercy, Mercy, Me” that wondered how much abuse the world could tolerate from humans. About the same time Joni Mitchell was singing about what happens to us when they tear down paradise to put up a parking lot (Big Yellow Taxi). No, this song wasn't first recorded by the band named Counting Crows. Country/folk singer, John Prine, sang about the irony of paradise being located in the horrors of Kentucky strip mining for coal. Most of my life history has been illuminated by singers like these and other songwriters like John Denver who took us into the beautiful outdoors for a Rocky Mountain High where the awareness of sunshine on our shoulders make us happy. There was Joe Walsh singing a Song for a Dying Planet and Bob Dylan suggesting that the establishment had a License to Kill when it came to the earth. I still remember Michael Jackson's haunting video about the destruction of life on this planet in his 1995 plea entitled Earth Song?
This musical cateloging of ecological pleasures, laments, and hopes for the transformation of the human spirit with respect to the goodness of the earth continues to this day with an array of musical styles and genres. Mos Def has a rap song about New World Water where every drop counts. Ziggy Marley offers us a reggae reflection on the world going down the drain in a song called Dragonfly. Eliza Gilkyson sings a tribute to Jackson Brown entitled Before the Deluge that expresses the magnitude of the earth's fury against those who would turn her beauty into power.
For me, the voice of Sarah Brightman singing a classically inspired song Running that continues to captures my heart and imagination in a particulary poignant way regarding earth care. The opening music and lyrics draw me in when she sings-
“I dream of silent oceans, And I sing of waters blue, With the crossing of angels, Brought forth to guide me through, To a distant shore so welcoming where I was free to roam
In a land of ancient mystery That I could call my own.
Then comes an urgent and hope-filled challenge:
“This is me and you, And we are running, To change the world, Where hope is shining through
Gaia’s green and blue, And we are running, To save the world, That we’re about to lose.
I commend it to all of those who would benefit from a musical inspiration to run to save the earth:
May angels indeed bring us through to that end.