I fervently believe that there is a showtune for every occasion, and Pastor's sermon this past Sunday about "closed hearts" reminded me of a scene in "Miss Saigon." When the heroine (or perhaps anti-heroine given the tragic ending) of the story, Kim, finds out that her lover has remarried she sings, "I feel walls in my heart, closing in. I can't breathe. I can't win." Her belief in him and in love and in the American dream (the "movie in her mind") is shattered at that moment, and her broken and closed heart leads inevitably to tragedy.
At the heart of many of the world's problems is a stubborn, closed heart (and mind), because a closed heart leads to fear, anger, despair, and loneliness. Like Kim, we can suffer because our faith in other people can be destroyed, but true faith in God and prayer should never leave us suffering with closed hearts.
Similarly, much of the greatest music and art is about reopening our hearts to interact with the broader world. To close your eyes and lose yourself in a beautiful song, to take in deep breaths and relax, is to refresh yourself in a kind of meditative prayer. During these busy back-to-school weeks, I rely on music to help keep me connected to that supportive faith. I hope singing hymns in worship and listening to the preludes and postludes help perform a similar function for many of you so that you can act on Isaiah's injunction to be strong and have no fear.