“Music is to faith as air and water are to life.” Mother Tongue: How Our Heritage Shapes Our Story

Music can minister to our souls in ways that are indescribable; it can shape the story of our life, offer hope and healing, and bring us closer to God. Leonard Sweet reflects on the soundtrack that was instilled in his life at an early age, and explains how it greatly influenced his spiritual journey.

“The last thing we did before bed is have a family prayer time. We always prayed on our knees; we prayed on our knees then we got up, we hugged mother and dad, and then we went upstairs. She dismissed us to go upstairs to bed, and then she would go to the upright piano.”

“We would call down, for as long as we could stay awake, our favorite hymns that we wanted her to play. She would tuck us in, musically, every night. We grew up with a soundtrack to faith.”

At 17 years old, Leonard stepped away from the Christian faith and began experimenting with other worldviews. But after a period of time, Leonard says the soundtrack to his faith pointed him back to his relationship with Jesus Christ.

“For about six years I was just an atheist. I became a Marxist and at one point even a Maoist. But what kept me tracking was that soundtrack; I could not escape that soundtrack. That soundtrack helped bring me back, and bring me back stronger than when I left.”

“I can’t say enough about the need for a soundtrack, and it was a soundtrack that I learned in the home. It was a soundtrack that we shared as a as a family unit. It wasn’t that everybody had their own soundtrack, we shared a family soundtrack.”

The Scriptures tell us that even Jesus had a soundtrack for His soul. Leonard refers to Matthew 26:30,

“We know He sang; there is a hymn book in the middle of Bible called the Psalms, and a good Jew never said the Psalms, the Psalms were meant to be chanted. We know Jesus sang a hymn; it says that right in the Bible that ‘before they went out to the Mount of Olives, He and His disciples sang a hymn.

“We also know the last thing He did, He ushers Himself into eternity singing a hymn.”

Psalm 22, the greatest song ever sung in history the world Jesus sang from the cross, ‘My God, my God, why have so forsaken me?’ The Psalm ends, ‘It is finished.’ We understand that Jesus is singing in that Psalm. Those things that we call the last words of Jesus were really a part of this song that He sang on the cross.”

Leonard reminds us that there’s power in having a soundtrack for our souls. It can minister to us in every season of life, and help us to stay grounded in our faith.


Leonard Sweet is a scholar of USAmerican culture, a preacher; and a bestselling author who communicates the gospel with a signature bridging of the worlds of faith, academe, and popular culture. He is the author of Mother Tongue: How Our Heritage Shapes Our Story.

Soundtrack for the soul
Also on this edition of Connecting Faith
Jeff Manion on Dream Big, Think Small

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