Thinking about Music . . .

4 Oct

I will start by stating that I am not a professional musician and for that reason when writing on a topic such as this one, I will stick to what I know, which has far more to do with theology and proper themes in writing than it does with music composition. I know there are others to competently fill the gaps I cannot. 😊
Last week we had a series of evangelistic meetings involving a lot of music, with wonderful worship. It got me thinking (again) of what the various types of worship music are. I can pick out three, but I am sure there are more.
I have heard a differentiation between praise music, which would glorify God for Who He is, and thanksgiving music, which would glorify God for what He does (mainly for us!). Praise music emphasizes the attributes of God which have always been, before there was man and before any of His attributes were exercised in relation to us.
I would further divide thanksgiving music into music that glorifies God for what He does for us corporately as His church and music that glorifies God for what He does for us individually. Examples of the difference between the two would be that “The Church’s One Foundation” would be a corporate piece of music and “In the Garden” would be an individual piece of music.
At this point, I would state that there is probably not any Biblical reason to prefer one of those three types of music to the other two, but we probably all have a preference. I prefer straight praise music because it is usually huge in its themes (like God is huge!). “Holy, Holy, Holy” is an example of that type of music. So is “O, God our Help in Ages Past” although some of the lines, like the title, lap over into thanksgiving music (basically, it tells how God has *always, since eternity, been a strong Defender, so we who came along much later in history can rely on Him, too!).
My challenge is for us to think of these three types of music–paying attention to what we sing/hear and to how it would be categorized. It is probably good to sample from all three types of music regularly.
If all we ever listen to is thanksgiving music, it might be possible for us to forget that God has always been great, even before there were angels or men to worship Him. He is the self-existent One who chose to create us, but who does not just exist in relation to us and our needs.
If all we ever listen to is music about our individual relationship to God, it might be possible to forget that He has designed us for fellowship, chiefly for being woven into His church, expressed by membership in a local community of believers.
I am glad there is such a rich tradition of worship music in Christianity, which is unique to us and to the Jewish faith, as we learned last week. Muslims, Buddhists, and Hindus don’t get together to sing. Yet we who are redeemed by Christ Jesus have so very, very much for which to sing!!!
Acts 20:28 (KJV)
“Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.”

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