The psychologist Erik Erikson writes of how in the first stage of our development the primary concern is basic trust versus basic mistrust. For infants, the outer predictability of consistent patterns of care becomes an inner certainty. Trust births hope.
This inner certainty runs deeper than memory. It lives in spirit, flesh and bone.
And for those yearning for hope, I offer this. Erikson is clear that no “stage of development” is ever “over.” How we live trust versus mistrust changes through our lives but is always at issue. This means our capacity for hope can be healed and strengthened. Let’s be clear: this is no easy path. The support and care of others is essential, perhaps even that of mental health professionals.
And if consistent patterns of care birth hope then we have hope in our God who loves unconditionally, unceasingly and well beyond the capacity of any human caregiver. God loves us beyond the binds of our history into a future we yearn for but cannot see.
Without hope we are myopic or blind so we cry out “Oh Lord, open the eyes of our hearts!” To foster hope we have to allow the Spirit to train us to see the myriad ways God cares for us. Daring to trust a little, we see. Seeing, we trust a little more.
So what does this have to do with music? By the Spirit music opens us to God’s unceasing care. It awakens and nurtures that inner certainty that lives in spirit, flesh and bone. Immersed in the sound of a congregation at worship we dwell in the loving embrace our creator who gently calls us to trust and opens us to hope.