Rock n’ Roll as Church

Share the joy

I was sitting in my basement doing some stretches while Pandora was on in the background.  As if the Universe’s own DJ was on duty, Tom Petty’s Learning to Fly began to play and flowed over me with the healing of understanding:

“I’m learning to fly, but I ain’t got wings, Coming down is the hardest thing….”


“Amen to that Tom,” I mumbled disgruntledly from my back bend position. I’d been hit with a low day, one of those times when focusing on blessings, getting out in nature, praying, meditating – all these things just weren’t cutting it to pull me back up out of my funk. I needed refreshed in a way that went deep, that could reignite my determination and perseverance. I needed a Sunday music mass.

Next came Bob Marley: “I shot the sheriff, but I did not shoot no deputy.” Just as my faith in my ability to keep on keeping on in the face of a world gone mad with corruption and greed was shattered, here came a master telling me that he had once taken these things on without being corrupted himself. And so too could I:

Finally,  Janis burst with her whole being into Me and Bobby McGee to remind that love isn’t found on the other side of a blemish cream, the latest weight loss supplement, or that fake tan with its fake glow. Rather, its how we feel on the inside that is the recipe for authentic connections: “Feelin’ good was good enough for me, good enough for me and my Bobby McGee…”

With my belly calling out for breakfast, I ended church services and made my way upstairs.  I had time to contemplate the question of just what makes music so powerful as I cooked a Sunday morning feast of  waffles, veggie egg omelette, and Folger’s Black Silk coffee.

I think that heartfelt music’s magical ability to help us heal so quickly comes from being devoid of doctrine and judgment. Instead, it courageously addresses those so-called ugly moments in life and implants the solutions onto our spirits. It’s a sermon, but not of theology – it’s composed of experiences that have been faced head-on and then set to the beat of our Souls. Springsteen, for instance,  did not advise us to “Let the broken hearts stand, as the price you’ve gotta pay, keep pushin’ till it’s understood, that these Badlands start treating us good…” because the Bible told him to. No. He lived that stuff first, used it to spiritually evolve, and then sang it back out to help us do the same.

It’s one’s ability to hear in that one line, that one beat, something that completely embodies a current life situation. It’s to know we’re not alone, and to know that the tough thing we’re going through is the catalyst for all good things yet to come. And it’s to understand that peace and greatness are the core of our being, no matter what is happening on the outside. Just like Alanis Morissette quietly roars to remind us:

Share the joy