Once I went to a music school called ‘jazz studio’, where they tried to teach me how to play jazz. Something must have gone wrong, since I’m still not able to play jazz, and I’m still very bad at reading notes… But I do have grown a good musical theory background though, and a repertoire of jazz standards that get stuck in my head from time to time.
One of them is called ‘softly, as in the morning sunrise’ and has been stuck in my head for days now. I’ve never played it myself, but I’ve seen several ensembles playing very different versions of it, from bossa to very slow ballad style:
(very oldschool version, put it real loud to scare away real masculine macho men, cool teenagers and hipsters away!!)
Softly, as in a morning sunrise The light of love comes stealing Into a new born day Flaming with all the glow of sunrise A burning kiss is sealing The vow that all betray For the passions that thrill love And lift you high to heaven Are the passions that kill love And let you fall to hell So ends the story softly, as in an evening sunset The light that gave you glory Will take it all away
With this song being stuck in my head I’ve been thinking about the view of love this song expresses. Seems to me like a rather tragic expression of extreme romantic myth. All is reduced to very strong passions, which seem impossible to ignore and which take us into and out of love, while vows seem impossible to keep.
So we are not in control, the passions are in control and take us to both heaven and hell. I know in the worldview of the romantics this would be seen as freedom, but the church fathers would call it slavery and bondage to our passions. Post-Freud a lot of people do indeed assume that there’s nothing we can do about both sexual urges and ‘falling in love’, but I really doubt that. (Especially as a Christian, who should have faith that the Spirit will help us with selfcontrol, being one of the seven fruits of the Spirit!)
I do believe in love that trancends all those ‘passions’, and I do believe in vows that can be kept. In love that lasts through the night and is strong as dead. But I don’t think that we could ever convince people of that just by arguing with words. They might see it in our lives as we live it out. In our rellationships and marriages, but also in our friendships. Vows are there not to be be betrayed, the world should be able to see that in us.
What is our reaction to this kind of worldview as encountered in the lyrics of this song?