Summary: In this sermon we will look at the connection between Hope and song. This sermon is a preach a little sing a little sermon.
Have you ever thought about how pervasive music is? There has never been a single human culture which did not produce some kind of music. We have discovered cave paintings of prehistoric people playing flutes and horns. Music is a part of all major occasions across all cultures; weddings, funerals, pageants, rites of passage, birthdays, anniversaries, parades, and festivals. But singing, in particular, is universal.
From Wal-Mart to Wall Street, in elevators and automobiles, in the most remote jungle villages to the most crowded city streets, music is everywhere.
And we like it that way. We insist that our cars come equipped with the latest technology for playing music. We buy millions of dollars worth of music every year. It is an essential component in virtually every form of entertainment we experience.
If you don’t believe me try this; the next time you go to a movie, pay attention to the sound track. Imagine that same movie without music. Soundtracks are big business, not just because of the theme song but the it’s the music that drives the movie of our lives.
And have you noticed how music is used in advertising?
Years ago, musicologists discovered that certain kinds of music produce predictable behaviors in people. Slow, peaceful music actually has a physiological affect. Our heart rates slow down, our digestion is stimulated and our saliva glands become more productive. Then some advertising guy ran across that study and wondered if there was an application for it in his industry. So they started playing slow, peaceful music in grocery stores. They noticed that shoppers took their time down the aisles. They stayed longer in the stores. The longer shoppers stayed in the store, the more they bought. So the next time you go to the grocery store, take your portable music device and a Van Halen CD. You’ll save money.
Then someone discovered that people can remember information better when it is accompanied by music. So an advertiser came up with this:
Oh, I wish I were an Oscar Meyer Wiener, That is what I’d truly love to be. ’Cause if I were an Oscar Meyer Wiener, Everyone would be in love with me.
If you really think about it you would see how amazing that little song is. It is the unlikely merger of hotdogs and narcissism through the power of music.
In Montreal, the city government was wondering how to solve the problem of loitering gangs of teenagers in a public park. They started piping in classical music. It was effective, the teenagers left.
In the United States, economists started rating the depressive content of the most popular songs on the radio in order to assess consumer optimism. By measuring consumer optimism, they could predict the gross national product with a one to two year lead time.
And there may be no greater testimony to the power of music than the fact that one of the first things repressive regimes do is to control what kind of music people are permitted to listen to.
Music is an extraordinarily powerful means of communication and expression. We even make a decision about the church we attend based on music.
Today we are going to have a sing a little preach a little sermon. Since the title of today’s sermon is Hope sings I thought that it would be appropriate to do just that, sing. So as you can notice in your bulletin we are going to use some songs to emphasize the points that we are trying to make today. Jimmy will come up here between points and lead us in a song of hope. Jimmy Please lead us in
Song – Nearer My God To Thee
Last week we took our first look at hope. We talked about the importance of memory. We look to the past to find reassurance that the future will not be destroyed by the present. Hope -- the confident expectation that God will take care of the future -- rests on our ability to remember. So what does all of this discussion about music have to do with hope? Let me share some stories with you.
Eleven-forty p.m., April 14, 1912. The largest, most luxurious steamer to ever sail the oceans was making her way across the North Atlantic when an iceberg sliced a gash through the hull. Within a half-hour, the Titanic’s lifeboats were adrift in the frigid waters, most of them only half full. Within an hour, some of America’s wealthiest, most influential people, and hundreds of poor immigrants
hoping for a chance at the American dream, would go down with the ship. What did they do once they realized the lifeboats were gone and the ship was sinking? Legend has it that the ship’s string quartet serenaded the doomed passengers with the song we just sang, "Nearer My God to Thee."