Music is interesting and very much enchanting. Words woven with notes, or notes woven with words, or just the notes themselves can tickle your heart and bring about a multitude of feelings. It can touch your mind and launch a thousand memories, even relive a long-forgotten dream.
It has been with us- enchanting us- since time immemorial. Odes to triumph and losses, hymns of love and sorrow, symphonies of bliss and melancholy– men have enveloped a plethora of emotions and themes in musical pieces.
Music’s irrefutable charm has enthralled many, including me, and perhaps you too. Personally, I have viewed music as a way to connect with others, a way to confirm that “Oh, the writer has the same sentiments as mine”. And as I tried to craft songs too— on plain papers, on edges of lecture notebooks, and on my phone— I realized that it is a wonderful outlet for my emotions.
But, throughout the years, I have learned that music can be so much more than that. Bro. Eli Soriano, a man of music and a much-loved evangelist celebrating his 50th year of service to God this year, has taught me important things about this well-adored indulgence.
Music, how old is it really?
You have probably come across this question once, in one way or another: How old is music, really? I love music, but I do not know its history, and it seemed quite absurd. Knowing its history can make me appreciate it more, I thought. But for a long time, I have this question left unanswered. Even the answers provided by the superb searching prowess of Google were not much of a satisfaction. But thank God, one evening, during a music festival’s grand finals night, I was able to hear the answer.
“Music is older than the world and praise songs are the oldest of musical kinds,” Bro. Eli shared citing the Bible verse Job 38:7:
When the morning stars sang together, and all the songs of God shouted for joy?
It was a joy to have a question answered, and I even got a bonus— I learned what was the oldest among all sorts of music!
Why sing praise songs?
Today, one pressing fact is that praise songs are not the ones considered by many as LSS-worthy. Scan someone’s playlist, and more often than not, praise songs are not included. But why? Are there too few artists composing such kind of music? Is there no market for these songs? For whatever reasons that may be brought about, the point is, men have been missing the great bounty singing praise songs brings.
Bro. Eli is always adamant in emphasizing the benefit of making and singing songs dedicated to our Creator’s works and loving kindness. In one musical summit of the Members Church of God International (where he is the Presiding Minister), he revealed that “singing to God is one of the few things that we can do directly to Him. We cannot serve God with our hands. But we can offer him the fruit of our lips, praising His name.”
Below, I share some words that Bro. Eli himself posted through his Twitter account. These are few reasons why we must keep our “devotion of singing and writing songs of praise to God.”
Through these words, I have found the ultimate inspiration to go on humming praise songs every now and then. Anyway, as what Bro. Eli also told, it is not the voice from our vocal cords that counts— it is that voice from our hearts.
Music, for the benefit of others
Indeed, music, praise songs especially, offers us a grand meed, but it does not end there. Being a philanthropic man Bro. Eli is (he maintains orphanages and an infant care center and regularly mounts medical and legal missions), he used music as an avenue to help others.
Through the proceeds of the albums he made through the years, he was able to sustain the charitable projects he initiated and launched. Aside from the albums that serve as a compilation of his beloved songs, he has also held concerts that nonetheless aid in the maintenance of his public service programs.
With these albums and concerts celebrating good music, I, along with fellow supporters, am also given the opportunity to reach out to the needy alongside having relaxation and entertainment. Having music icons such as John Claude Gummoe of The Cascades, The Platters, Air Supply and the Asia’s Queen of Songs Pilita Corales, seen live on stage is just one big bonus.
Music truly is a precious treasure for us. Its “magic” has given refuge to men who seek to express their emotions and feelings stylishly, and has provided sanctuary to men who look for sense of belonging, a confirmation that what they feel is universal. More importantly, through the things I have learned from Bro. Eli, I realized how music can bring us closer to God, and how it can bring our charities closer to people.
She looks down
Oh, it sure is lovely,
The brightness of beauty,
The yellow and green!
And at times,
The cold wind visits
And at times, hunts.
It sure is arduous
To fight the cold!
It sure is arduous
To fight the beauty
Of temporal bliss!
But while she is here
She will keep her faith:
The glory of things
Yet to be seen
Is beyond the sufferings
Of the battle she is in.
That glory is
Worth the wait.
let the tranquil sky,
the gentle breeze dry
your jaded heart’s cry.
let that cleansed eye see
that each of us has his
story of pain and agonies-
the sturdy trees
the sun is set to kiss
its flame goodbye,
it has to cease.
remain in faith,
while you wait.
lose not the will
to fight a good fight until
for the greatest meed
awaits those who will
the very end.
hold on tight,
that day, too,
when at last!
we shall see
A great wisdom I have learned through beloved preachers, Bro. Eli Soriano and Bro. Daniel Razon:
God deserves the best in us!
Nothing to offer but the best. Nothing to say but “Amen!” and “With God’s help!”. With this by heart, I wish we could all have great days spent serving Him.
Faith is something to cherish, something to love, something to care for
-Bro. Eliseo Soriano
Photo from MCGI.org
Many years ago, when I was around seven years old, there was one occasion that until now I preciously treasure in my memory box. As far as I can remember, it was the first time I set my feet on the stage of the Ang Dating Daan Convention Center. I was with my fellow children then, dressed in vibrant blue and white dresses and suits, singing and dancing to an upbeat praise song. We were there, offering thanksgiving to God.
Yes, we were young and innocent then, but who says we cannot offer and extend our gratitude to our Creator?
Through Members Church of God International (MCGI) leaders Bro. Eli Soriano and Bro. Daniel Razon, the children’s ministry called Kawan ng Cordero (KNC) was organized as an avenue for people at the early age for learning spiritual wisdom, and Christian songs and dances. And it was through this endeavor that we were sent to that stage, blessedly saying our Thank You’s to God.
We thanked God for our allowances and delicious meals prepared by our parents for school; for our talents of drawing, singing, and dancing; for passing periodical tests; for the kindest families and friends He gave to us; for adding another day to our lives. Indeed, we thanked God for the simplest reasons.
Clocks ticked. It has been twelve years since that day of thanksgiving. It has also been three years since I was baptized in the Church. In those years, through the spiritual dishes regularly served by Bro. Eli and Bro. Daniel, God has let me understand and know the deeper reasons for offering thanksgiving. From the mere fact that I exist to the highest calling of God, I have learned and realized that we have all the reasons to be grateful and let people witness this unending appreciation.
Recounting those years that passed, I cannot help but be humbled. I know, without God’s permission, I could not have set my feet on that stage again in the other thanksgiving programs of MCGI. Without His mercy, I could have been buried in shame because of my sins. Without His loving kindness, I could not have known how to express my sincerest gratitude.
It is a truly a cherished wisdom, the wisdom of offering thanksgiving. Learning this, I am able to do one of the few things men can do for God. And this one-of-its kind knowledge is a blessing that could not be bought by any amount of money. Having this kept in my heart since those KNC days, I know, with all the blessings and tribulations I have, I somehow can repay.
Even though no words can translate what I feel, I still thank God for letting me write this.