Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Music in Worship

Vast quantities of words, some wise and others foolish, have been written on the topic of music's appropriate place in worship, especially in the context of church services. In order to add to the growing body of writing, I offer three thoughts on church music I had recently.

Music should be a form of service, and not performance. The honor and the glory should be directed to God and God alone. The musician must take great care, while doing his very best to play/sing to the best of his ability, to avoid drawing attention, honor, or glory to himself. Humility is to be the mindset. The godly musician will not be puffed up with pride when complimented on a job well done, but will instead praise God for being able to do it well.

Too many church musicians today "perform" in the exact same sense that a secular musician performs: To draw attention to oneself and one's talent. The performance of some church music differs little from the performance at a secular concert. Sad to say, sometimes the church music sounds like music from the secular world.

The purpose of church music is worship, not entertainment. There is entertaining music out there in the world, and some of it is good, enjoyable, and profitable. Feel free to enjoy it. But when we come to church, our focus must be on God. God is great; He is worthy to be praised; He alone is the object of our worship. If we are so carnal as to go to church to be entertained, we do not understand worship, and we certainly aren't participating in it.

Certainly, when a musician does a good job, the music should please us. We will enjoy it, and even want to here more later. This is good. But true worship isn't about us...it's about God, and what He wants. There are a number of Bible passages which speak to this issue, and they are worthy of our study.

Worshipful music must come from a sincere heart. There are, alas, plenty of "performers" of music who sing/play with talent, but whose hearts are not spiritual. It does not glorify God as it should when "praise" comes from unclean lips. True worshippers worship "in spirit and in truth" (John 4:23-24).

May our hearts ever be worshipful and Spirit-filled, regardless of our musical skills.

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