Out of the ivory palaces,
Into a world of woe,
Only His great eternal love
Made my Savior go.
You don’t hear many bass baritones in popular music (or sopranos for that matter). I have a theory that involves people being most comfortable with voices that fit into cheap radios without too much distortion, but now that the quality of sound systems is improving it is probably time for a greater variety of voice types to appear. Bobby McFerrin said, “Listening to only one kind of music is like insisting on living in only one room of your home your entire life.” I would say the same about listening to one type and range of voice -tenors and alto belters. I have pretty eclectic tastes. Admittedly, sometimes I have to shut off the music critic in me to hear the heart of the singer rather than the style, but I can hear it. I do long for freedom in my culture for a wider expression of praise in worship music though.
I remember listening to recordings of George Beverly Shea when I was a child. I loved the richness and power and fatherly comfort of his voice. I remembered him yesterday as I listened to another beloved baritone (with an incredible extension into tenor range) -Josh Groban. I don’t know if it was intentional, but so often I hear something in his songs on a spiritual level that causes me to pause and pay attention. Yesterday it was a connection to the song “Out of the Ivory Palaces” by George Beverly Shea. This connection was about more than range. The Josh Groban song was “So She Dances” and the line that stood out to me was “And I’m giving up this view just to tell her…”
It’s a romantic song, but it reminded me of the Divine Romance, when the King left the ivory palaces, and laid down his rights so he could allure the one he loved and win her to himself. (Though he [Jesus] was in the form of God, [he] did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. Phil. 2:6,7)
The Church becomes the Bride of Christ in the great metaphor. It reminds me of the metaphor of Lover and Bride in the Song of Solomon. It reminds me that the Bible talks about a great wedding feast at the end of the age when the King of Kings comes for his Bride. It reminds me of the great sacrifice Jesus made just to dance with us.
With just one glance the Bride captured his heart. He laid down His life to clothe her in garments of gladness and purity. In His eyes His Bride is beautiful.
Only His great eternal love made him give up His view just to tell her He loves her.
You are the object of God’s desire, and you are beautiful.