I recently began thinking about music and the church.
In my early twenties, I shifted from the Lutheran Church to a Baptist Church. More on that another time, perhaps. But what is germane to this topic is the music.
Granted, the Lutheran Church I attended was relatively small, but it seemed that the organist played at an extremely low volume and you could barely hear the congregation singing, mumbling their way through the verses, seemingly afraid to stand out and be heard.
In the Baptist Church I went to, they had both and organ and a piano playing simultaneously. I’d never heard that before and thought the music was beautiful. But what struck me most was that both of them were banging away at full volume, yet you could still hear the congregation above it all.
What was the difference between the Lutherans and the Baptists?
I couldn’t see or feel the joy of the Lord so much in the Lutheran Church. Now, I’m sure that it may have been there in some fashion, and your church is probably different, but it wasn’t all that evident to me. I’m only reflecting on my own experience.
The Baptists were all about it, expressing their joy through song, and soon, that became my favorite part of the whole service. If it went on longer than it usually did, I was all the more happy about it. I enjoyed giving praise to God in response to all that He is and all that He has done.
The songs were, of course, different. The Lutherans had their hymnal, which had been recently updated, much to the chagrin of many church attendees who didn’t see anything wrong with the old way of doing things. The Baptists also had their own song book. Some songs were common to both, but there was a difference. The songs the Lutherans tended to sing were more about God. The Baptists’ songs seemed like they were more to God. Now, one of those isn’t necessarily better than the other; they both have their place, but for me, there was more of myself going into praises that were going directly to Him from me.
I also know this – No matter what form our worship takes, God relishes it all.
Christians of all different flavors all have their own opinions when it comes to music in the church. Some feel that certain instruments or genres of music are not to be used because they don’t glorify God and are therefore inappropriate.
I knew some people who would only need to listen to themselves to see how silly that is.
“Electric guitars and drums were tools of the devil. Those rock and roll instruments had no place in the House of the Lord.” They were adamant.
That same pastor once went to England where he attended church services. He talked about the long, droning sounds of the organ as it played slowly, elongating each note of each verse out to a ridiculous lengths. He made a comment to someone on the plane on the way back and asked why the didn’t step it up, maybe have a piano playing. The response he got was priceless. “Why, that’s a honky-tonk instrument! Completely unsuitable for the praise and worship of our God and Father.”
Think about that for a moment. Let it sink in.
Psalms 150:4 4 Praise him with the timbrel and dance:
praise him with stringed instruments and organs.
God longs for and appreciates our worship, no matter what form it takes. If it is truly an expression of your love for Him and that expression glorifies Him, I say, “Have at it!” Worship God with music and song, poems and the dance. Give Him the glory and honor that He is due in whatever form you choose to use. We are told over and over again in the Bible to bring your praises before the throne of God and lay them at His feet. I will gladly do so in whatever fashion strikes my fancy at the time.
What is your favorite form of worship? How do you best connect with God?