By Emily Lund
Sometimes church music seems almost controversial -- something to debate, discuss, analyze, categorize, and possibly even demonize! But, at heart, music is a marriage of expression and communication that blesses, heals, unites, and encourages. It is a most beautiful reflection of the harmony, creativity, and beauty that comes from our God, the overflowing source of all good. We should take heart when we think of these few encouragements from Scripture.
“Sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done marvelous things.” (Ps. 96:1a)
God’s people are a singing people. For the body of Christ, music is our language. With it, we praise our triune God, confess our fears and failings, encourage one another, and profess our beliefs. Styles, meters, rhythms and instruments may vary, but our song has always proclaimed the marvelous goodness of our God. So, sing! Encourage those around you to join your song. Pray for the musicians in your church, for by singing, we minister to each other. As your gifts allow, use them for the glory of God, the good of your brothers and sisters, and your own spiritual growth and development.
“Submit to one another, out of reverence for Christ.” (Eph. 5:21)
We all have personal tastes and preferences. I hate coconut; I don’t even know why! My husband might rather starve than eat celery in any form. Sometimes, in our musical tastes, we feel very strongly, and certain styles or instruments can either inspire or offend. Yet, our personal tastes must be tempered by this truth: we are the body of Christ. We share one Spirit; we are baptized in one Name. And so, we must be eager to build up that body, even at the cost of our own personal taste. We sing not as a collection of individuals, but as those joined in unity through our Lord. The blessings of sharing that song far outweigh the issues of styles and tastes.
“Let us encourage one another – and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” (Hebrews 10:25b)
Music is everywhere. It spills from speakers in almost every business or vehicle we encounter in a day. It advertises products, promotes ideologies, and expresses personal emotions. But, this daily cacophony is usually not the music of God’s worshipping people. While that music may entertain and uplift, it is not sufficient to feed our souls, express our faith, encourage our brothers and sisters, or praise our God. As we take up our crosses to follow Christ, the world is not our friend. It rails against us, sometimes even in musical form. We need the community to walk with us, and the song of the body to sustain and encourage us.
“In a loud voice they sang: ‘Worthy is the Lamb…’” (Rev. 5:23)
In Rev. 4 and 5, the Apostle John sees what God has promised: a day of unified worship and praise spanning from heaven down to earth. As we walk each day in this present chaotic world, we need not fear. As Christ could have made stones cry out on Palm Sunday (Luke 19:40) if the children had not sung his praise, he can and will move human hearts of stone to praise and confess him still today (Ezek. 7:19). I pray that he may use each of us as a means to make his song glorious. With joy and confidence, we will take up our call to sing with all God’s children as we prepare for the return of our Lord and the beginning of that glorious song. Amen! Come Lord Jesus!
EMILY LUND is a teacher, composer, and church musician. Living in Escondido with husband James and their three teenage children, she enjoys music as both a profession and hobby. She is also known to spend time reading mysteries in her favorite hammock.