Last night I treated myself to a concert with James Taylor, on tour now singing with his son, Ben, who is also a great singer/songwriter, just like his pop.
In the last 20 years I’ve gone to almost every one of his concert tours if it comes anywhere remotely close to Harrisburg, PA. I’m a JT junkie. Can pretty much sing word-for-word most of his stuff—new or old. There’s just something about his songwriting and delivery—along with his equally distinctively smooth yet sometimes gritty-sounding voice—that envelopes me and gives me a sense of well-being, even when he’s singing something bluesy or introspective.
And it’s always a hoot to hear him personalize his all-time-great hit “How Sweet It Is”—last night’s shout out was for Hershey as he played to a sold-out crowd at the theatre. Everyone felt like JT had been singing directly to them How sweet it is to be loved by you! I left the concert happy and uplifted, humming the tune to myself as I walked to my car. Truly great stuff, and I got some of it on video via my iPhone.
That’s a feeling I need to hold on to; I need to tuck that tune into my head when I’m feeling less than happy, cuz it’s a great way to lift the spirit.
Why is it that we can unabashedly sing out such powerful words during a concert, but when it comes time to actually say them to another—a spouse, a child, a parent, a friend—we go mute? Why is it that we can’t take that same type of joy that we find in a song and use our voices to uplift God during Sunday Mass, rather than a half-hearted attempt at the hymns and responsorials, or not singing at all?
I need to remember that the truest idea of the words in James Taylor’s popular song is expressed in the type of love God has for each of us in sending His only Son to die for our sins.
When you think on God that way… How Sweet It Is to be Loved by You.