‘Make a joyful noise to the Lord’ in the new year Print
Everyday Faith
Thursday, Jan. 11, 2018 -- 12:00 AM

Everyday Faith column by Julianne Nornberg

My five-year-old son is a budding pianist.

Day after day he sits at the piano and plunks away at the keys, often producing beautiful songs from his lessons as well as composing his own.

But sometimes, he doesn't. Like I said, he's five.

"Make music, not noise!" I found myself yelling from the kitchen at my little Chick Corea the other day. He had hit one too many notes of dissonance while pressing the foot pedals, making it even louder.

Noise versus music

I'm not a musician. In fact, I'm musically disabled and cannot even read notes. But I can recognize noise versus music.

This was definitely not music.

Each of us, too, is a budding pianist in our own lives. Day after day we plunk away at our jobs and families, sometimes producing music for Our Lord when we prayerfully offer our daily work to Him, sometimes producing noise when we don't.

How much of our lives is just noise instead of music? How often must Our Lord look down with sadness at our dissonant and noisome society!

Creating music in 2018

With renewed resolution each day, we can battle the dissonant chords of society by trying to turn the noise of our own lives into music.

The noise is sinfulness of any kind, including greed, gossip, pride, jealousy, anger, and impatience. Noise can also be the excessive activity that crowds our lives and causes us to neglect essential time for Our Lord.

As we begin the new year, we can try to teach our children to turn their lives into a gift of music for Our Lord.

Here are some suggestions:

• First, clear out the noise by going to Confession regularly and setting aside 15 minutes each day for prayer and Scripture reading.

• Remind yourself and your children to think of others first and to constantly ask Our Lord for the grace to respond with love in all things.

• Be counter-cultural: consciously decrease screen time in the home and increase family time and book-reading together.

• Help your children to find and hone their God-given gifts and teach them to pray about how God wants them to use their lives.

• Pray with your children and ask Our Lord to help each of you to be His hands and voice each day.

Praising the Lord

The Psalms readily point out music as a means of praising Our Lord.

"Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth. Worship the Lord with gladness; come into his presence with singing" (Psalm 100: 1-2).

"Praise him with trumpet sound; praise him with lute and harp! Praise him with tambourine and dance; praise him with strings and pipe! Praise him with clanging cymbals; praise him with loud clashing cymbals! Let everything that breathes praise the Lord! Praise the Lord!" (Psalm 150: 3-6).

In our own lives, we don't necessarily need to have trumpets or tambourines or a piano on hand, but each of us does need an open heart and a willingness to turn noise into music -- for Our Lord.

Julianne Nornberg, mother of four young children, is a member of St. John the Baptist Parish, Waunakee.