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DefaultWallPaper_win_wideThis wonderful Lectionary reflection comes from my former student and my present researcher, Bruce Marold. 

Psalm 5:1—8 Trust in God for Deliverance

Notice the very important first verses “Give ear to my words, O LORD; give heed to my sighing. 2 Listen to the sound of my cry, my King and my God.”

Also notice that this psalm is to be performed with flutes. We probably don’t think about it much, but it sound is crucial to the way we worship and pray. I have never encountered a recommendation to pray silently, and the best ways of reading the scripture are to read it aloud.

I have often noted how certain words evoke wide vistas of images, for example, the simple words “Call me Ishmael”. Anyone who knows anything about the story of Moby Dick will immediately recall 19th century whaling out of Nantucket, and the great open seas on which the story of Moby Dick takes place. An aural example is the slowly rising guitar strumming which opens The Who hit “Pinball Wizard”.

Immediately, you anticipate the huge base guitar chord from John Entwhistle which marks the beginning of Roger Daltrey’s vocal “Ever since I was a young boy…” I have taught about this effect more than once when I was teaching lectio divina, but I’m not sure my audience believed me. Now, I have proof that this effect is real. See this quote from a New Y ork Times column: More than a decade ago, our research team used brain imaging to show that music that people described as highly emotional engaged the reward system deep in their brains — activating subcortical nuclei known to be important in reward, motivation and emotion. Subsequently we found that listening to what might be called “peak emotional moments” in music — that moment when you feel a “chill” of pleasure to a musical passage —causes the release of the neurotransmitter dopamine, an essential signaling molecule in the brain.

When pleasurable music is heard, dopamine is released in the striatum— an ancient part of the brain found in other vertebrates as well — which is known to respond to naturally rewarding stimuli like food and sex and which is artificially targeted by drugs like cocaine and amphetamine. But what may be most interesting here is when this neurotransmitter is released: not only when the music rises to a peak emotional moment, but also several seconds before, during what we might call the anticipation phase.

[read also:  WCC Assembly in Korea & White and Yellow]

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226689_209857602381598_3554964_nI’m a native of Bethlehem who studied philosophy at Lehigh University and Johns Hopkins University. I worked for 34 years in pharmaceutical research, first as a chemist, and then as an information systems professional for toxicology and for clinical trials of new drugs and indications. After retiring, I taught myself how to cook and wrote hundreds of cookbook reviews for Amazon. I earned a Masters of Theological Studies from the Moravian Theological Seminary, specializing in the New Testament and feminist theology. My heroes are Ludwig Wittgenstein, Charles Sanders Peirce, and Jonathan Edwards.

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