Sunday, February 25, 2007

Music that Moves You (Part 2)

Music has power. You’ve felt it. Each of us have been in the car when a song comes on the radio that just clicks. Everything changes - your mood, your attitude, your thoughts... Why? It’s that song on the radio. You find yourself temporarily taken to another place, transferred to someplace in the past or someplace in fantasy. Images, faces, places, feelings, thoughts, flash in your mind - all triggered by a few chords on a guitar.

Music has power. Maybe more than any other art form that man has dabbled with (unless you consider chemistry an art form). It has the power over people to make them feel, to make them live, to make them believe. Music soothes the savage beast. Music calms the man with an evil spirit sent by God. Music breaks chains and crumbles stone.

God uses music. 1 Samuel 10:5 “you will meet a group of prophets coming down from the high place with harp, tambourine, flute, and lyre before them, prophesying.” This sure sounds like music being very closely tied to prophesy. Twice in the last two weeks I’ve found myself in the middle of an in-depth conversation with music playing in the background. Multiple times in each case a pause in the conversation revealed to our unsuspecting ears that the words in the music playing spoke directly to the topic of our conversation. Is this just a small, paltry coincidence? Maybe. But it happened. More than once - at the very least one would have to call it eerie.

Do we respect the power of music? Do we use it to its fullest potential?

A while ago I went to a church who’s pastoral team (of 10+) is led by a certain author who at one time wrote about kissing a certain something goodbye. Admittedly this was a special-event Sunday and I was later told that this was not the normal order of service, but the Sunday I was there they sang a whopping 2 songs. One of the songs I did not know (along with what sounded like a large portion of the congregation) and the other I did. After singing through the first song there was a small devotional/prayer time (which deserves its own post) and then another song - the one I knew. Or thought I knew. We sang through all of the verses of the song, but the worship leader was not finished. After the uh.. formal verses the worship leader added another verse that I can only believe he made up on the spot. Why such an assumption? 1) I’ve never heard it before and neither had anyone else. 2) It didn’t rhyme. 3) It didn’t fit the theme of the rest of the song.) 4) It didn’t make theological sense. But don’t worry - we sang it enough times so that everyone had time to learn the words - and then we kept singing it and singing it. Now, maybe it’s a character flaw of mine, but I just couldn’t seem to really worship singing words that didn’t make sense.

I’ll never forget the first time I heard the worship song “Beautiful Scandalous Night.” Up until that moment, the word scandalous had nothing to do with the crucifixion in my mind, but it has ever since. The melody and the words stimulated both my heart and my mind. When I hear that song, I worship - in church, in my car, mowing the lawn. Other songs, both hymns and choruses, don’t achieve that same effect. Have you read all of the verses to some songs? Ugh. But, what is one of the easiest things to remember? The words to a song. Think of your favorite song - I bet you know every word (if it has words...)

We can and should use the power of music. Before I play basketball I might listen to RATM. When my boss decides to like the temp more than me I might sit in my maroon 1986 Trans Am and listen to “Everybody Hurts” while everyone in the Office is stuck outside because of a fire. Before I go to sleep I might listen to something unplugged.

Which song will make a person’s heart ready to hear God’s word on a given Sunday?
Which words do you want the congregation singing to themselves when they leave?
What a tremendous responsibility worship ministers/directors/leaders have.

No comments: