Thursday, October 29, 2020

David's Digest: The Godliness of Music

I took piano lessons from age 5-15, and so music has been a good part of my life. But if you think about it, what is music actually? We all sort of know about it, understand it exists, participate in it when we sing or hear a song, but what's going on "under the covers", so to speak?

I would suggest that it is all God's specific doing, and that it is inherent and literally built in to creation by the Creator. Let me try to explain...

Sound is based on waves of vibrations in the air, like a Sine wave, where the wave starts at a mid point, goes up to a point, and goes down below the midpoint an equal distance, and this repeats over and over. The characteristics of the wave give the distinctions of the sounds: the higher the wave apexes from the middle, the louder the sound is, which is called amplitude, where we get "amplify", or make louder; the closer together each wave is to the next one in the cycle, the higher the sound, which is called frequency (ie. how many times a wave happens per unit of time). If we were to pipe sounds into an oscilloscope, you could see these represented, and watch the changes as the sound changed.

This in itself shows a constant in creation. But there's more...

Most believe it was Pythagoras (yes, that Pythagoras) that discovered an interesting "phenomenon". Two different tones together could be categorized mathematically in 2:1 ratios (ie. the frequency of the upper tone being 2 times that of the lower tone) and 3:2 ratios (the frequency of the upper tone making 3 vibrations in the same amount of time that the lower tone makes 2). Then, if you crawl up tones using the 3:2 ratio, on the 12th iteration, you land basically, with some slight mathematical variance, on the 7th iteration if you had crawled up using the 2:1 ratio, thus ending the cycles of each before starting a new round (this is where we get the 7-note scales and the 12-note chromatic scale, for you musically-inclined folks).

(More details are in lots of places on the internet, but here's a starting place if you would like: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pythagorean_tuning. And for anyone interested, the handling of the mathematical variance mentioned above in tuning instruments in more modern times is discussed in equal temperament or well temperament.)

Notice anything about the numbers in the above description? 12 and 7? In the Bible, 12 represents God's power and authority, or governmental foundation, or the number of completion; and 7 is the number representing completeness and perfection (both physical and spiritual).

Coincidence? These are mathematically built in to nature, and shows an extraordinary degree of order. If I had nothing else, for me personally, this would show some intelligence put nature together. This is absolutely amazing to me!

Further, the base structure when notes are played together is called a "chord", and the base structure of that consists of 3 notes, and 3 in the Bible also represents completeness.


But now, looking beyond that, I believe there are many spiritual representations in music, and how it's used.

First, God would have us sing to Him. Many, many verses, but here are a couple:
Ps 105:2 - "Sing unto him, sing psalms unto him: talk ye of all his wondrous works."

Ps 135:3 - "Praise the Lord; for the Lord is good: sing praises unto his name; for it is pleasant."

In fact, the Psalms are really songs. Sue and I sing them each night in family worship, using a Psalter (here's the last set of Psalms we recorded to help people learn them: Psalm Singing - August 2020).

Usually in any song, there is the melody, or the tune we might all know, and the other parts sung with the melody that form chords which sound good together, which are called harmony parts, all working together to make the music, and to make it sound better. I think one can glean a couple things from this:
  • This is similar to the body of Christ, His people, working together in...wait for it...harmony (see this definition). :)
    1 Cor 12:12-14 - "12 For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. 13 For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. 14 For the body is not one member, but many."
  • Not everyone in the Church has the same function, and yet they are all important for the complete picture:
    1 Cor 12:15-20 - "15 If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? 16 And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? 17 If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling? 18 But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him. 19 And if they were all one member, where were the body? 20 But now are they many members, yet but one body."

Another thing that I think can be observed: when an orchestra with multiple kinds of instruments, and multiples of those, play together, there is usually a conductor. His job is:
  • To help lead and keep everyone together as they make their way in unity and not chaotically to the end, and the orchestra follows the conductor's lead
  • To help with the interpretation of the original composer's intent
  • To set the speed (or "tempo") of how fast the music is played, with the idea it's not about how quickly you get to the end, but how you get there

To me, this is similar to the Church, where:
  • Pastors and leaders help guide Christ's flock through their earthly pilgrimage to the end, helping keep away from chaos and instead in unity, and the people follow their lead as it conforms to scripture:
    Heb 13:17 - "Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you."
  • Pastors and leaders should rightly divide God's word (the composition) as to how God would have it interpreted:
    2 Tim 2:15 - "Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth."
  • Our Christian walk is not about how quickly we get to the end, but how our pilgrims' progress in this life is to be travelled as the Lord would have for us, in the manner in which He would have us get there:
    1 Cor 9:24 - "Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain."

    Heb 12:1 - "Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,"

All in all, I believe music is a gift architected into creation by the Lord, thus revealing Himself in nature, and is to be used for His glory and means by which we worship Him, and which is also graciously something we can enjoy as we praise and give thanksgiving to so great a God!

-- David

Monday, October 19, 2020

Pesky 2nd Law of Thermodynamics: Outside Wood Boxes Refurbish Time

As built into the natural order, things decay over time. I believe this is a type or a picture of death, which entered the world through sin:
Rom 6:23 - "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."
And so, we can learn to see God's hand in all things, and be reminded of sin and what its due is -- death: physical, spiritual and eternal, and then be reminded of Christ Jesus, the only savior from spiritual and eternal death! Thank the Lord for so great a gift! And for designing these things in the physical realm to teach us spiritual realities!

We see lots of decaying things around here, and some end up being beneficial, as in a compost pile. But other things aren't as helpful as that, and one of those are wood-structures. Through time, they start to fall apart, and recently I went through and refurbished several items around the homestead...


Well Box

We actually did have a well dug on our place not long after arriving. It actually still does push out water, although we need a generator to use it, and it has a lot of, I believe, nitrates or nitrites in it. And so, we stick to our catch water systems.

In order to try to keep the well hose that comes out of the well head from freezing, I built an insulated box to put over it. Well, it's been a while, and here is where we were with it:
Decayed Well Box Covered with Blanket

Cats would come and go through the blanket holes; chickens would get in there sometimes too. And so, it was time to reconstruct the box.

Here it is uncovered:
Decayed Well Box

And then disassembled:
Disassembled Old Well Box

Here's what was underneath. Remember about the chickens? :) (Actually, this is a re-stage of the eggs, because I forgot to take a picture initially, but it was basically like this.)
Eggs in Well Box Area
Well Box Area

And then cleaned up, ready for the new box:
Well Box Area Cleaned

Here's the well box frame. Last time, I had different heights on the ends to allow for water runoff, but with enough of a slant on the ground, I decided to just make it square this time. Also, I shorted dimensions to allow for overlapping the plywood siding at the corners, and also to have the top overlap the side plywood pieces:
New Well Box Frame

I also decided to tack on what was left of the old footer to the new footer to let that rot on the ground instead of the new footer, hopefully buying us a little more time with the new box:
New Well Box with Old Footer

Then, it was caulk the frame before putting on the plywood siding:
New Well Box Frame with Caulking

And then add the siding:
New Well Box with Siding On

And the insulation:
New Well Box Insulated

Put the box in place, ready to lower down:
New Well Box in Place Ready to Lower

And then set it in place over the well head, and caulk the corners, ready for painting:
New Well Box in Place

And then paint it, and then it's done and ready for hopefully another 10 or 12 years!
New Well Box Painted

Well Hose End Box

Most of the well hose I buried way back when, but we of course needed part of it to stick out of the ground to attach a normal hose for the actual use of it. For that, I also built an insulated box, only just a mini version.

Here is what was left (this is a re-stage too, but it was basically like this, although not quite as cleaned out as here):
Decayed Well Hose Box

And so, here's little brother -- basically the same design:
New Well Hose Box

And painted, and in place:
New Well Hose Box in Place

Generator Box

Once again, here's what was left:
Old Generator Box
More of Old Generator Box

And the new box. I decided to forego the flat-board insulation I had used last time, to try to help sound proof it. Most if it was gone because the chickens like to peck at it :), and we really don't need the sound proofing:
New Generator Box

Here's the lid:
New Generator Box Lid

And the new box and lid ready to go!
New Generator Box in Place

We thank the Lord for granting the resources and know-how to do these types of things! Again, may we learn to see and contemplate God and spiritual things from all the temporal things around us!

-- David