An excellently performed piece of music, as natural operation which reveals in a very high degree the peculiar powers given to man, will thus always glorify God whatever the intention of the performers may be. But that is a kind of glorifying which we share with the ‘dragons and great deeps’, with the ‘frost and snows’. What is looked for in us, as men, is another kind of glorifying, which depends on intention.
I hate to brag, but I am a musical genius. In fact, I can torture a roomful of strangers with my sincere rendition of “My Way’ without being stabbed to death. But alone in the shower with the radio up, I sound pretty terrific; you cannot tell whether it is me or Sinatra [Spurgeon said in a funny sermon: Those with cracked voices would be kind if they would not sing quite so loudly in the congregation, for they grievously disturb other people; but they might get alone and have good times with themselves, where nobody could complain of their strong voices and lusty tones.]
Yes, I don’t have a melodic voice and no, I can’t reproduce the sound of a 50-piece orchestra but I’m a music junkie anyway. Do you know what a vinyl is? Well, DJs scratch it on purpose but I still remember my father’s vinyl collection from The Beatles to The Commodores (we call his turntable ‘stereo’ because the pre-amp setup makes the speakers and walls disappear and my pants...shake). Ever heard of experimental music called Cosmic Industrial? Except for reggae --the sheriff shot Bob Marley, name any genre and I have it on my iPod and the playlist is more than the longest blogroll in the universe.
We all love music no doubt. Our world is preoccupied with it and for some of us, in every room in our home. Martin Luther, who wrote several hymns, says it well: “Music is…the only art that can calm the agitation of the soul; it is one of the most magnificent and delightful presents God has given us”. “Secular” analysts and critics elevate it as close to literature and there is a debate whether this ‘charming art’ is salvific or is just one of those things which give value to survival. But while some stupid and unmusical scientists are tying to work out why it affects emotion (Well, they should ask Asaph), I believe that music has lost its rightful place in our lives. So much of the music you and I listen to is little more than background noise to the rest of our lives. Take the case of the so-called ‘praise and worship’ songs of user-friendly churches. The mushy lyrics are more shocking than the weird children’s songs and nursery rhymes.
While they try to hum and haw in a contemporary way, the heart of their music is cheeky--like those of Prince, and obviously egoistic:
Jesus lover of my soul,
He is my friend,
this is why,
this is why,
this is why I feel like I’m in heaven,
‘feels like heaven…
Amos 5 says, ”Stop singing your songs; it is not right--there is no depth in it”. Perhaps this is the reason one of the things God will do during the Tribulation is to cause all music to stop [Rev. 18:22]. He will pull the plug on the world’s party. Grammys be damned. The chilling ‘Sound of Silence’ will make the whole world go crazy.
The sound of music, never ceasing, took the role
Of silence and like silence numbed his soul
Thy note--it is silent, thy song--it is hushed,
No more shall thy music entrance or enthrall,
The music that like the blue rivulet gushed,
A finger of terror has silenced it all.
Lennox Amott,THE MUSICIAN'S GRAVE
And suddenly the earth grew black with wrong,
Our hope was crushed and silenced was our song,
The heaven grew loud with weeping. Thou art strong.
C,.S. Lewis, SPIRITS IN BONDAGE