The Sweetness Of The Gospel Song


I had been down in Argentina as a full-time missionary about a month when my companion and I had an interesting conversation with a local business owner. We often stopped into his small store to buy snacks and drinks while we were out and about. At the time there was a heavy American influence on the culture of the country, so it was not unusual to hear “Rock and Roll” music being played overhead.

I will always remember my companion asking rather incredulously,  the owner of the little store, how he could listen to American music when he couldn’t understand the words to the songs. He shrugged his shoulders and said, “I don’t understand much of the words but I like the way the music makes me feel.”  My companion laughed. Then the owner, referring to the song that was playing overhead, said, “Could you translate for me what the words are to this song?” I remember the song playing was by Creedence Clearwater Rival.  If you have ever heard their lead singer, John Fogerty sing, you will appreciate what happened next. My companion stopped and strained to listen. So did I.  The small shop went silent as the music pounded over the radio. My companion strained to glean the words from the music. I started to laugh because with the drums pounding, and with the lead singer screaming, I couldn’t make out a single sentence. Neither could my companion. He stumbled and tried to translate the song. But it was comical to me that here my companion had acted so incredulous that the business owner would listen to songs he couldn’t understand, and here we were, in the same boat. Funny how little events, such as this, stick with you for life.

I know what the business owner had to say back then is still true today. We don’t always understand the words to music, but sometimes we like the way it makes us feel. The gospel is so like this. I don’t understand everything about it, the words to all life’s problems. But I do know that it’s precepts and values make me feel good. So often we get lost in desiring to “know all the words” and miss the beauty of the melody that surrounds it. Is the earth 10 billion years old, or 6 thousand! Is the story of Job literal or allegoric? Who created Heavenly Father or did he exist since the beginning of time and if so, how can you have a beginning of time?  I don’t understand all the “words”, but I love the way the “music” of the gospel makes me feel about life and who I am.

I am sure that I will never know “all the words” while in this life. But if I stretch myself by reading in the scriptures on a consistent basis; if I pray for guidance, if I read the words of the prophets, some of the words become clear and I will know the general nature of the message. The message is clear to me. The sweetness of the melodies of the gospel have been enriching my life since infancy. As I strain to hear the Lords words, I will come to understand them little by little. Until then, I can still enjoy the sweetness of the gospel song.

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