Have you ever lost something or someone very close to you? Chances are, you have. Loss is something that everyone experiences at some point in their lives, and it is rarely an easy thing to go through. One of the most difficult things about loss is how much of a personal matter it is. I remember what it was like when my grandparents passed away. There were many people who offered help and words of encouragement, and I was always very thankful for them. But I could not rely on other people to grieve for me. I had to deal with the pain myself. The turning point between my grief and my recovery happened when I stopped focusing on my present pain and allowed myself to think about the future. I was always comforted by the phrase “they’re in a better place now”. I believed it, and over time, it helped me to get out of my own head and move on toward the path of recovery.
For some, the pain may not ever go completely away. It can be incredibly difficult to make your way out of a cloud of grief that threatens to darken the sky for the rest of your life, but it is possible.
Music has always been something with incredible power to uplift and encourage in times of distress. As music leaders and choir directors, the responsibility of finding the right music for funerals and memorial services may at times be intimidating. The music for these occasions should be empathetic but also convey hope that the deceased is now in a better place.
A spectacular new choral composition by Richard Nichols ticks all of those boxes. Beyond the Countless Stars is a selection for SATB choir and piano that beautifully depicts a soul’s journey up into heaven. This piece, with lyrics written by Jonathan Cook, was composed in memory of Wallace Cummings – the father of a dear friend of composer Richard Nichols. The beautiful lyrics speak of a place of peace and rest for those who have passed away. The accompanying melodies and harmonies lend tremendous aid in painting that picture. The result is incredibly uplifting. Sitting at an easy to medium difficulty, this selection is doable for almost every type of choir or ensemble.
With its beauty and insightfulness, Beyond the Countless Stars is one of the most outstanding new choral pieces published by Fred Bock Publishing Group this year. This song is an excellent example of the comforting power of music, and it is sure to continue to comfort people for many generations to come.
Loss does not always come in the form of death. Grief can be caused by any number of things. But no matter what kind of grief you may be facing, it is important to remember that there is always hope. Sometimes hearing a particular song or kind word from someone while we’re down is the very thing we need to help us keep going for the rest of our day. When you find things that inspire you, share them with others around you. They may be the very things that can also help pick them up when they are down. Reaching out and offering encouragement to those around us is one of the greatest ways we can share God’s love. Just in the same way that music touches our hearts when we are down, I believe that we touch God’s heart when we reach out to others and share his love.
Today, take a moment and reach out to a friend that you know is struggling. Let them know you are thinking of them and praying for them. Share a song with them that inspired you. Even a small action like this can not only make them feel better, but it can also encourage you – and, most importantly, it is a way to share God’s love with others and bring Him joy.