Introducing Music Mondays - The Options in our Worship
I have studied various aspects of music from as far back as I can remember. I had an aunt who taught me the basics in regard to vocal music. I've studied music in theory, in regard to not only voice, but guitar, piano, and wind instruments. In the midst of all of the classes, the instructors and the teachers, I have come to realize that THERE IS A LOT OUT THERE. There are not only a variety of instruments, but CATEGORIES of instruments. There are not only variations of these instruments, but HOW these instruments are used, what they mean and how they impact others.
As music has placed such an important and such a large part of my life, I wanted to take some time to dedicate Mondays to looking at some of the options that there are in regard to music. This may cover styles, practices, genres and, of course, artists.
Today, I wanted to look at Ephesians 5:18-20.
18 Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit, 19 singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, and making music to the Lord in your hearts. 20 And give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. (NLT)
This passage is part of a larger discussion that Paul is having with the Ephesian church. Part of this discussion is focused on music. This seems to be broken into five parts; psalms, hymns, spiritual songs, making music, and giving thanks. What Might this look like in the ministries that you are connected with? What might this look like for students?
Traditionally, when one discusses psalms, one might just be focusing on the Book of Psalms in the Bible. Simply the reading or the meditation of one of these Psalms. Some people might simply put the focus on songs written with the use of Psalms (Classic Maranatha Music Choruses from the late 80's or early 90's) Others may Focus on the musical concept behind this where a stringed instrument is used and chords are struck. What might that look like in today's music? What kind of parallels could be formed with an acoustic guitar? A banjo? An upright bass? A mandolin? An Electric guitar?
Hymns, the concept of sacred songs. Sacred songs could be part of a musical category, as in traditional sacred music. However, if you look at various hymnbooks, the contents change over time. Songs that used to be 'contemporary' or 'current' or 'break through' or 'cutting edge', ended up in hymnbooks. So what exactly makes a hymn a hymn? I think that part of the definition becomes evident over the test of time. Hymn books seem to encompass the best of the best in an area. Favorites, classics and time tested. What might have been some of your favorite contemporary songs for you growing up that are found in hymnbooks now?
Spiritual songs. This term seems so vague. Would that be any song addressing the spiritual? Or are there underlining tones to this idea? What would make a song spiritual? Would it simply be a song that addresses God? Our relationship and connection with God? Our Pursuit of God? Could a current secular song be a spiritual song?
The idea of 'making music' with a focus - 'To The LORD', with a vehicle 'In Your Hearts'. This again seems to leave a lot of options. Could this be clearly shown as little children make up songs? Fun, cute, simple, heart felt?
To express gratefulness, specifically to God as an act of worship. In and through and maybe even by everything, to again, express thanks to God. What might that look like today? The ides of thanking God through music.
The truth is, musical styles change. Concepts and approaches change. Tastes change. Could this be why this passage seems to cover everything? Ultimately, it seems to be inclusive as far as addressing everyone, be personal as the directive is something that an individual has to choose, and be focused and the ultimate audience is simply, GOD.
This article, and the blog posts that will follow, are not designed to necessarily push you in a particular direction. They are designed to encourage discussion. You can take this to your family, a leadership team, a small group, your peers or your students. You can totally just chew on it yourself, but God designed us to be a part of community. Sharing thoughts and ideas tend to stretch us. Here are some questions to ponder.
What options does this present to you?
What options might you have missed?
How might this affect your own personal worship?
How might this affect how one might lead others IN worship?
Let the discussion and brainstorming take off!
- JACKSON FONG
Copyright 2015 Jackson Fong