Noticings – May 24, 2023

I am currently mesmerized by a piece of music. It doesn’t happen very often, but when it does it’s a wonderful gift. The music is a new release by singer/songwriter Paul Simon. It’s called “Seven Psalms.” No, he isn’t setting biblical psalms to new music. He’s written new pieces that are very psalm-like. What does that mean? It means they are contemplative, poetic, introspective, and filled with questions, and wrestlings, and yes, even praise of God. Paul has never been an overtly religious person, but his music has always been very spiritual, and as he has aged his spirituality has shone through his work.

The “Seven Psalms” are actually all melded together into one 33-minute long piece, and there are no ‘track divisions’, meaning that he intends for it to be listened to as a whole rather than in parts. Musically, it is very intriguing. It is mostly just him playing acoustic guitar, and his playing is great. And I love the way he slips in and out of time in the music. Just when you start to catch a groove he shifts it, and stretches it, and plays with it. And the lyrics are, well, divine…

The Lord is my engineer / The Lord is the earth I ride on / The Lord is a face in the atmosphere / The path I’ll slip and I’ll slide on
The Lord is a virgin forest / The Lord is a forest ranger / The Lord is a meal for the poorest of the poor / A welcome door to the stranger

Tears and flowers / Dry over time / Memories leave us / Melody and rhyme / When the cold wind blows / The seeds we gather / From the gardener’s glove / Live forever / Nothing dies of too much love

The Lord is a puff of smoke / That disappears when the winds blow / The Lord is my personal joke / My reflection in the window
I’ve been thinking about our troubled nature / Our benediction and our curse / Are we all just trial and error / One of a billion in the universe?


But maybe the most inspirational aspect of this beautiful music is that it is made by an 81-year-old! A guy who’s been in the music biz for decades and decades produces something breathtakingly original and new – unlike anything he’s ever done. It certainly feels like a final statement, and what a statement! Still creating in his 80s. Still growing as a musician. Still offering so much to us.

I hear a lot of talk in a lot of churches lamenting that “we’re all older” and whatnot. Well, Paul Simon has something to say about that. He says, “Yes, you are. And that just means you have more life experience to draw on, and can offer wonderful richness in your maturity.” I’m glad we’re all older. We won’t be offering the same gifts we did when we were younger. Now we can offer new gifts, because like Paul we’re still growing (always growing) ever deeper in our walk in faith.

Life is a meteor / Let your eyes roam / Heaven is beautiful / It’s almost like home / Children get ready / It’s time to come home