Saturday, 5 February 2011

Music

I will sing unto the LORD as long as I live: I will sing praise to my God while I have my being.
Psalm 104:33

While I live will I praise the LORD: I will sing praises unto my God while I have any being.
Psalm 146:2

We are told throughout the Old Testament of singing to the Lord. We are also told in the New Testament that: For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope (Romans 15:4). So it is clear that God wants us to continue to worship as the Israelites did in the Old Testament. In the New we hear of the apostles singing hymns to the Lord. Music and song are a delight to God when we worship Him '"God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth" (John 4:24). I've been wondering though, how much our worship music is geared towards pleasing our flesh and impressing others rather than worshipping God in spirit and in truth.

I've been thinking about music and musicians, particularly Christian music. It seems to me that there is a danger in music. The danger being that, it is so easy to become wrapped up in tunes and rhythms. It is so easy to become wrapped up in how music makes us feel.

A while ago we went to an event organised to raise awareness of the awful business of human trafficking. The event was a Christian event and a number of Christian performers were invited to lead the audience in worship.

First up was a Christian rock band. It was enjoyable to listen to I may have tapped my foot, but I'm not one for all the arm waving and jumping up and down - far too dignified don'tcha know :P. But it was encouraging to see young people raising their hands to songs about Jesus and I thought how great it was that they could praise the Lord with such abandon. But then a second Christian musician came on the stage. His music was more...old fashioned, not as up-to-date, but equally lively. Well these young people didn't wave their arms and some even had a chat whilst he was performing.

It struck me then. They were not worshipping Jesus, they were worshipping the performance, the music and even how the music made them feel (the flesh) - just as a secular crowd would respond to a pop/rock star.


I also thought of a particular British Christian pop group. Some friends of ours were jealous that my husband had regular contact with this group as part of his work. They were a bit starstruck with it. This pop group sign autographs, dress in the latest fashions, have all the trappings of being a secular pop group, except their music is aimed at bringing young people to Jesus - a worthy cause.

It must be so hard for a popular Christian musician to keep pride from growing with all this sort of adulation though. It must be so hard to know where these young people who come to Lord really are with God when the music stops. It's so easy to be carried away with emotion and excitement by music. I remember years ago my husband (before we were married) taking me to a concert given by his favourite group. I didn't like the music and wasn't interested, but I went along for him. But when I was there I got really carried away with the music and I was jumping up and down and arm waving with the rest of them (I was younger and less dignified then! Ha ;) ). What happens when these young people, with their new profession of faith attend the local church and are disappointed that it's not all as exciting and 'bouncy' as that concert? I wonder.

I also wonder why Christian bands have to look almost exactly like secular. Hahaha I don't mean they should all have beards (even the women, lol) and wear robes. I mean the attitude, the clothes, the fancy photo sessions for the album cover, the talk, the walk...we are supposed to point to Jesus not to ourselves and how funky/relevant/stylish we are. It ought to be Jesus who draws us, yes sometimes through music, but to be honest music was always worship to the Lord in the Bible and not a tool of evangelism (from what I can see). Our lives should shine with Jesus, and we in our joy should sing hymns of praise to the Lord - I guess this would draw others...Hmmm.

Hubs is a musician, he plays and sings in our church group. He recently read a book by Tim Hughes the worship leader from Holy Trinity Brompton. We discussed some of the things he raised in the book. About how it is easy to become prideful as a popular musician and even as a music leader in a small church. God must always come first. It's not about the music it's about Him.

About Jesus: For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. Isaiah 53:2

~It would seem that Jesus drew no attention to His appearance to attract others to God. This is something that I've always wondered when I see famous Christians in their finery and how they act - particularly rock/pop groups.

About not worshipping man (however wonderful his acts for God): And as Peter was coming in, Cornelius met him, and fell down at his feet, and worshipped him. But Peter took him up, saying, Stand up; I myself also am a man. Acts 10:25-26

8 comments:

  1. Well impressed Mrs Doods.

    I have been thinking about worship alot over the last few week.. particularly since your lamentation!!

    But God has taken me a slightly different way than you he has pointed to the Physical act. As you know I am also not one for physical acts of worship but the physical pleases God also. through out the Bible both Testaments there are regular references to bowing down in Worship, prostrating in worship and arms raised in worship.
    As you know I have taken to raising my hands in worship...obviously not whilst playing guitar!! and there is something very special about the physical act.. I cant explain it yet as I am just starting to understand myself!

    Just a thought as this is where God has Taken me!!

    Love you!!!!!!!!!

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  2. Lol, 'Mrs Doods'. You are funny.

    I hope you don't think I'm against raising hands in worship! Wave away!

    Love you too xxx

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  3. Such an interesting post. We have been to many and varied churches, from very traditional (dont look at your neighbour), to very charismatic.
    I think that if one feels lead to raise an arm, a hand or what ever, provided it is from the heart, it's good. I agree, its often too easy to be jumping around without actually knowing why.

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  4. Well you have got me thinking.... We attend Spring Harvest each year,a christian well get together.I always think the worship is fantastic.Its the only place i feel comfortable to raise my hands.Why cant i do that at church?Is it the style of worship music being so different.Its so uplifting at SH and shall we say calmer at church. am i praising God or am i taken away by the music.mmmmmm.I will ponder and pray. x

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  5. You two are so cute. Music is making a joyful noise unto the Lord. The beat isn't the main thing. The words and the true feelings in your heart are important.
    If we can reach people thru music it is a good tool.
    Sarah, I said more on little girl on my blog comments.
    Have a great week. God Bless

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  6. Elizabeth - I do raise a hand in church, and tap my foot. It's good to lift our hands to the Lord. But as you say we can too easily get carried away in the 'mood' and not really be praising God.

    M&M - Maybe at Spring Harvest you feel less held back by self-consciousness but at church you know more people and are a little more cautious? If others at church don't raise their hands it's also harder to raise them yourself. Or as you say maybe the music is more uplifting at SH. It's good to ponder and pray. I think sometimes I'm too self-conscious of others in worship when all my concentration should be on God.

    Joyce - yes, God sees the heart not the outward appearance. That's a good answer to some of my questions.

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  7. Hello, Thanks for visiting our blog!
    You've made some good points here. This quote, I think is very telling...
    "They were not worshipping Jesus, they were worshipping the performance, the music and even how the music made them feel (the flesh"
    So much of today's christian music appeals to the flesh, not the spirit, when it should point people to Jesus, and glorify him, not the performer, or our own flesh.

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  8. Hi Deborah, and thanks for visiting my blog too!

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