When it comes to music, I believe that music is organized sound, it is an abstract, amoral language, a tool we can use to express emotions and moods especially. It is beautiful and valuable all by itself, but is often at its most powerful when matched up with words, helping us to express more than the words by themselves could express: a song. Someday people from every tribe and nation and tongue will agree together that Jesus is Lord and that Salvation comes from and belongs t0 Him alone (Philippians 2, Revelation 5, 7) In the meanwhile, God wants all of us to sing His praises in our own native languages, including our own musical languages (everything from Gregorian Chant to Reggae to Rock to Hip Hop) The Psalms are full of a wide range of emotions and our God is a God with a rich variety of languages with which to praise Him and share our lives with him, and share the good news of the Gospel with the whole world!
In our churches, I believe we need to take missiological approach. We need to bring the mysterious truth of the Gospel, and the praises of God as clearly as possible in the language of the local people. If the local people speak “Reggae” then we need to find ways to express God’s praises, man’s experiences and the Gospel in Reggae. We need to follow the example of Christ, who came in the form of an “average human” and spoke about fishing for men around fishermen, and about sowing seeds around farmers, … or in the words of Paul in 1 Corinthians 9:19-23 ” I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some.” And we have a wonderfully rich heritage of songs that have already been written with older music and languages, including the Psalms and great hymns of the faith, that can be retranslated so our neighbors can understand them, and the great truths don’t get lost!
I believe that God has called me to have a role in helping to equip musicians and leaders for his Church, to be able to carry out her mission, which includes gathering those who are considered the rejects of this world, and inviting them to come join the wedding feast. And instead of fearing and resisting technological and cultural change and progress, we should be studying it and using it for God’s glory. Stagnation is a sign of death, not growth … and many of our churches have music that looks like it got stuck in a time warp. So, let’s shake off the dust and study some of the new technologies and advances in music making and use them for the Glory of God and His Kingdom! Jump in with us as we sing a new song and make a new sound of worship to the Lord!
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