Monday, April 19, 2010
Enter His Gates! - Why Worship God with Music?
It's hard to say if music influences culture or reflects it, however; it is certainly a driving media force. I don't think that I know anyone without an iPod.
Today is the 30th anniversary of the "Footloose Event" - you know that little conservative town in Texas where dancing was forbidden at Elmore City High School. They finally got a prom, and of course the movie Footloose was based on it. It's hard to dance without music.
So what does all that have t do with church or even God? Like all art forms, it is an expression of the soul and creative spirit - the souls that was created by God. Artistically there is really no "right" or "wrong" - just popular acceptance and obscurity.
The Bible is pretty clear about the role of music as part of our worship. Unfortunately the word "worship" is not constantly translated from Greek and Hebrew. The English word means to give; or ascribe "worth" to God. I'll leave it at the. At church we often use the terms "praise" and "worship" as if music has some sort of "giving" style - giving praise, and giving worship. All worship is certainly not music.
In a religious sense, Christian rock, praise and worship are just genres of music like country, rap, hip-hop, blues jazz and classical. Some would like to think that the only thing that sets these genres apart is the lyrics. Of course there are those too that claim rhythm in itself can be demonic. And worse, there are those that prohibit music during a service altogether
I am of the mind that all things are legal, and one needs to discern things by the spirit of God when it comes to music; or anything else the is not specifically forbidden by the Bible. We can toss verses around all day, but with out being led by the Spirit, we cannot come to a godly conclusion. That said, there are many verses about music and dance in the Bible - too many to outlaw it.
For those that are earth bound, musical styles are important. Everyone has musical tastes. Even I prefer certain types of music, although I play lots of them. The truth is that what makes music worshipful is the anointing of God. For those that really worship, you know it is not a song that you connect with, it is God. As one teacher put it, if the anointing of God is there, you could play "Mary Had a Little Lamb" and your worship would be pleasing to God. Without the connection to God, you could easily be bored during Handle's Messiah!
As a musician, I can easily be attracted to worship that fits my personal style. As I look back over the years I can honestly say there have been many musical styles that have connected me with God. The quiet plain chant at morning vespers, the acoustic guitar songs at a folks mass, Handle's Messiah, Christmas hymns like Come Let Us Adore Him, a blues rock version of Nothing but the Blood, and rock songs like Jeramey Camp's Take My Life or quietly listening to Surrender on the car CD while waiting at a traffic light - they all have connected me to God. And that should be the only reason we worship with music - to engage with God.
Worship is a powerful tool! When it is godly, it gets the attention of God, it can be used in spiritual warfare and it edifies the worshiper. It is a way to show God our love and our passion.
A friend of mine wrote a couple of worship tunes. I had a chance to play some electric guitar on the cuts. HERE is a link if you'd like to listen to them. Click on Praise to the King and My Heart Adores.
How about you, do you worship God in song?