Monday, November 26, 2007

Music!

As many of you know this past week most of our family has been in Plymouth, MA serving meals during the VF Faith & Freedom Tour. What a blessing the tour has been!

A couple of us needed to stay back in Illinois due to responsibilities/commitments/classes.

The house is so much quieter than usual. I, Maggie, actually had time to read a few articles and part of a book! I woke up this morning thinking about one of the articles I read. It is entitled, Music is not "Nice" by Andrew Pudewa. Excellent article.

Here's one of the many things to think about from his article, "In 1925, mass-produced electronic recordings became possible, a development which profoundly changed the relationship of man to music. As the great Hungarian composer and music educator Zoltan Kodaly predicted: we changed from being a race of music producers to being a society of music consumers. A hundred years ago, if you wanted to experience music you either had to create it yourself or get very close to someone who could..."

Mr. Pudewa goes on to explain the powerful transformational effects that music has on the individual and society, and states that we usually ignore this effect at our own peril. He goes on to explain the research that has been done and how learning to play an instrument, and even just listening to different kinds of music can have significant effects-both positive and negative on our attitudes, behavior, and mental capacity.

He also underscores the importance of music training in children, stating that it should be a core part of a child's early education and should continue throughout the school-age years. Whether or not a child determines to quit as a teenager, all that time and money is not lost, he is better for it- in many tangible ways.

I am very grateful that my parents exposed us children to great music at a very young age, and they sacrificed much to have us trained in music. It was a wonderful experience that helped mold each one of us.

The Psalms command/encourage/exhort us to praise the Lord with our voices and our instruments. Let us do just that! Are we just listening to others sing and raise their voices in praise? Or, do we actually do it ourselves. (Are we producers or consumers?)

And another question to ask is - In worship, do we sing and/or play music to please us?
Or, do we sing and/or play music to please the Lord?

Andrew Pudewa concludes his article with, "Music isn't just something 'nice;' it has a profound effect on individuals and on society, and will contribute to either the building up of a Christian culture, or speeding its further destruction. We must choose wisely."

7 comments:

Tara Janelle said...

Wonderful post! Thanks for taking time to share this with everyone!

Ryan said...

OK, so may play devil's advocate to the questions of "Do we sing/play music to please us" or "...the Lord" in worship?

Are those the only two possibilities?

Or phrased another way, what is a subset of pleasing the Lord as it relates to the role of music in worship? I would posit that scripture instructs us to "speaking to one another in psalms, hymns..." and that we are to "teach and admonish ONE ANOTHER, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs..." So, my point is that while all we do in worship should glorify God (including a sermon), things we do in worship have a "function" - a purpose. A sermon has a purpose, as does music. And while music's purpose is not to please us, it does have purposes that may be thwarted if the music is not pleasing.

Does that make sense? There's a fine line to tread, but it's the difference between a Zwinglian philosophy of music that prompted the burning of the organs in the churches and one that recognizes that for music to minister to people and teach them AND glorify God, that it must play the role that music was designed by God to play - and part of that is beauty. Which is and should be enjoyable.

Thoughts?

The Clerk said...

Ryan,

Well said! Thank you for clarifying.

I agree that music should minister to people, and that part of its purpose in the worship service is to encourage the saints. I also believe that music done beautifully and excellently glorifies God (and encourages the saints).

What I see as generally lacking in the church today is considering what music pleases the Lord.

It seems that the focus is often about how I feel about the music without consideration of how God feels about the music.

Please don't burn the church organs!

Ruth said...

Amen, Maggie!

We just visited a church on Sunday where that was an issue. Most of the songs seemed to be more concerned about "what's in it for me", than God centered. I personally prefer my worship, especially on Sunday mornings, to be God centered.

I remember a number of years ago I was listening to some Christian music and having a great time. All of a sudden it was as if the Lord spoke to me and said, "you're having a great time, but what about me?" That's when I realized that much of the music I listened to was making me feel good, but not drawing me to the Lord.

That said, I must say we miss very much the quality of music that was in our previous church of 22 years. It seems almost impossible to find the two together--well done music and songs that point us to the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. It's when we are drawn to God by strains of beautiful music and words that speak His truth that we are encouraged and built up.

Hez said...

Where can I get a copy of the article? I checked online and all I can find is his CD set on the topic. Sounds like a good article.

The Clerk said...

I couldn't find the article on-line, either. The article was in the Indiana Assoc of Home Ed's magazine. The theme of the issue was music, art, and drama. Several good articles.

I'll see if I can get permission to copy it.

hubers said...

Maggie, thanks for the encouragment to do the "hard" thing and continue to sacrifice day by day. May our Lord use us to bring glory to His name and preserve, protect and promote God-honoring music. Thank you for sharing!

Joni