I was thinking about Saul, Israel's first king this morning. For those who didn't know it, I've been sick for the past year. For months a staph infection did its best to take my life. And then for months after that, I did my best to survive. As a church musician I wasn't sure that I would ever be well enough to play the organ or piano for worship again. I missed it so much. But thank God, I'm back on the organ bench and piano bench again. This morning it was particularly pleasing to me because guest trumpeter Ross Hoksbergen took part in the service. It was exciting making music with him, and I confess that while I wasn't feeling all that great, the music made me feel so much better.
And that reminded me of Saul, who was troubled with mental illness. When reading about his ailment in First Samuel, I found the part where David the harpist would be called in. "David would take his harp and play. Then relief would come to Saul; he would feel better..." I missed music so much while recovering in a hospital room last year I made arrangements to have a digital piano delivered to my hospital room. The piano not only improved my situation, but touched other patients as well as staff members in the hospital.
When I think about how music improved Saul's condition, and when I consider the amazing healing quality of music in my life, I wonder what we could do to bring more music to prisoners.
Proponents of music therapy insist that the results are not just speculation. Improvement can actually be documented.
If that is the case, and if we have such a problem with mental illness among prisoners, and if we cannot figure out that the condition of these prisoners could actually improve in a better setting, maybe we could at least work on a plan to bring music to the prisons to offer some relief.