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SAP Recommends: Music for Connection 

 In Connection, Voices of Young People

In conjunction with the release of The State of Religion & Young People 2023: Exploring the Sacred, members of our 2023 Springtide Ambassadors Program (SAP) nominated songs they feel help create a sense of the sacred wherever they are. In this post, SAP member Brandon offers a reflection on how music takes a sacred form, and other SAP members name some of their favorite songs that help them feel a sense of connection. 

In a world filled with endless noise, it’s the melodic notes and harmonious rhythms that have the remarkable ability to bridge the gaps between us, connecting our hearts and souls. Imagine the sensation of listening to songs that resonate with the very core of your being, linking you not only to yourself but also to the broader tapestry of humanity.  

These songs aren’t just melodies; they are the embodiment of shared experiences, emotions, and stories. They are the harmonious soundtracks to our lives that resonate with every heart that beats in sync with the rhythm of the universe. They remind us that despite our differences, we are all part of a collective human experience. 

Music is a universal language that transcends boundaries and brings us closer together. This collection of songs is a testament to the profound connections that music can foster—connections not only to aspects of ourselves but also to the hearts and souls of others.

Picture of Brandon

Brandon

Springtide Ambassador (23 – Indiana)

Picture of Brandon

Brandon

Springtide Ambassador
(23 – Indiana)

Cyrus, 17 
Song: “Human Nature,” by Michael Jackson

Why this song: Because it is a nostalgic song I used to hear when I was younger, and it reminds me of my family.

Why music can be a sacred experience: Music has to connect with me on a deeper level in order for me to experience [awe, wonder, gratitude, etc.], and it usually does when the song is relatable. 

Mia, 18 
Song(s): “Explaining Jesus,” by Jordy Searcy 
Bottles and Bibles,” by Tyler Childers 
Revival,” by Zach Bryan 
Growing Sideways,” by Noah Kahan 
Don’t Think Jesus,” by Morgan Wallen

Why these songs: All these songs express struggle in finding faith, which I can relate to.

Why music can be a sacred experience: Listening to music is connected to the sacred for me because it gives me perspective on life. 

Gabrielle, 24
Song: “Glad I’m Not Alone,” by Victor Franco Ft. Lawrence

Why this song: This one is a new song by my favorite band. I was immediately caught by the bass and the beat, but then I realized the message of the song. The chorus goes, “I’m sorry that you understand, but I’m glad I’m not alone.” We hear that sentiment a lot and though simple in words, I think it captures the empathy that characterizes Gen Z at its finest: never wishing bad times or experiences on others but also understanding their inevitability and realizing the power of connection that arises from those experiences. 

Why music can be a sacred experience:  Studying music at a Catholic university while also serving as a music minister in our liturgies means that music and the sacred are always intrinsically intertwined for me. I believe that any experience or revelation of God always has to be mediated, whether through relationships with other people, nature, art, and so on. The way people respond to music is, in my opinion, deeply transcendental. The fact that 20,000 strangers in one stadium listening to one artist can feel close to each other, or that a piece of music can outlive its artist and span decades and centuries—to me, that is sacredness embodied. 

Akhil, 15
Song: “1-800-273-8255,” by Logic Ft. Alessia Cara and Khalid

Why this song: This song describes how someone feels when nothing is going their way. The numbers in the song title represent the suicide hotline, which is a very serious situation. For me, I relate to the song in less serious situations, but it tells me that many people are going through the same thing, if not worse, and I can get through it. 

Why music can be a sacred experience: Listening to music produces many of the feelings that happen during a sacred experience, such as wonder. 

Grace, 23 
Song: “Grace Alone,” by Kings Kaleidoscope 
Why this song: This song tells the story of the redemption of humanity!

Why music can be a sacred experience: Music connects to the sacred. A sacred space for me is when I am aware of God’s nearness and often Christian contemporary music is an aspect of those moments. 

Diana, 16 
Song: “Follow Me,” by P1Harmony 
Why this song: I’ve been to this group’s concerts twice, and every time this song plays the entire crowd just boosts with energy—it’s such a surreal moment. 

Why music can be a sacred experience:
Listening to music can frequently enhance the emotions I’m feeling in good and bad ways. It can also add a special touch to specific moments.

Brandon, 23 
Song: “Moon River,” by Jacob Collier

Why this song: The amount of voices harmonizing makes me feel deeply connected to the world and reminds me of the beauty of diversity.

Why music can be a sacred experience: I always experience a movement in my heart or in my body that makes me feel complete. 

Anna, 21
Song: “Satellite,” by Harry Styles 

Why this song: My lifelong best friend lives in Scotland, and since this song came out we’ve talked about it as our song because of the line where he says “I can see you’re lonely down there / don’t you know that I am right here?” It can be really hard to have long-distance friendships, but little reminders that [your friend] is still there for you, even if they can’t be there physically, is so wonderful. 

Why music can be a sacred experience: I listen to music all throughout my day, and I find that it helps me express and process experiences or emotions that I wouldn’t have had words for otherwise. I also associate different artists, songs, or albums with different people in my life, and those moments of screaming along to Harry Styles in the car with the windows down, or humming Indigo Girls while making dinner, or laying on the floor of my friend’s bedroom listening to Samia are all moments that have brought me and my community closer together. I also think experiencing live music can be a really sacred experience for me. One of my favorite moments in a concert was when I saw Hozier this summer in Minneapolis, and during “Cherry Wine,” it was just him, his guitar, and the crowd, and it was such an incredible and wonderful experience to feel the energy and joy in the room, singing this song that clearly meant so much to everyone there. 

Guillermo, 17
Song: “Americans,” by Oneohtrix Point Never
Why this song:  This song specifically always helps me analyze some of the ways in which we operate as American people; the instrumentals always help me paint a picture of how scary, dark, and also hopeful the US is as a nation. 

Why music can be a sacred experience: Music to me has always helped me decipher and unravel some of my personal emotions and connections. It allows me to self-reflect and delve into how grateful I am for certain privileges and relationships that I am able to have. 

Anthony, 23
Song: “To Know Me,” by Lauren Daigle
Why this song: This song talks about losing someone you love, which is something that each one of us experiences at some point in our lives. It reminds me of someone I lost and “why I keep on pushing past the limit,” as the song goes. 

Why music can be a sacred experience: More than anything, music is something that grounds me, rather than transports me to a place of awe or wonder. Music becomes more meaningful when it is associated with a sacred experience, which usually has to do with more than just the music itself, but external elements such as location, mood, and context. The songs I hold dearest are usually those that have some sort of connection to sacred experiences.

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