"Beside them the birds of the heavens dwell; they sing among the branches." – Psalm 104:12 ESV
Birds certainly are among the most beautiful, diverse elements of creation. But composer Olivier Messiaen developed a deeper perspective. He believed that creation itself is filled with music, and that much can be learned from birds’ songs. He concluded that birds were earth’s first musicians.
When just eighteen, Messiaen began collecting bird songs. This became a lifelong passion. Born in France in 1908, he was serious about his faith. Through his focus on the sound of birds, Messiaen learned why it is important to be in tune with creation and sensitive to the ways God can communicate with us.
As his studies became more advanced, he became more amazed at God’s design. Some bird songs are complex. Others are simple. Many are highly rhythmic. Some are exotic. This diversity reminded him that God speaks in many ways and that each of us is unique.
As he applied lessons learned, Messiaen developed compositions with a vast array of settings. Through his studies, Messiaen was inspired to develop ways of organizing sounds uniquely. He acknowledged taking liberties but continued basing his foundations in actual bird songs.
The Bible reminds us of the many ways God communicates through creation. We read, “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork” (Psalm 19:1). Ask God to give you greater sensitivity to His creation. Remember, He can speak to you through His Spirit, His Word, and even creation.
PrayerFather, speak to me. Give me a greater sensitivity to Your Spirit. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Extended ReadingPsalm 104