In churches few things evoke opinion faster than music. Over the last week I’ve unexpectedly had a number of conversations with different folk on this subject. Last Monday evening we had an evening to thank long term members of our church. In asking them their concerns modern loud music came out quite high. Then, on Saturday, I caught up with a mate who has been studying in the states with the Sovereign Grace music guys and he had some interesting thoughts (more of which below). And on Sunday evening at church our sermon was about music and singing. Given the force of feeling I thought I’d share the helpful insights of the friend I saw Saturday.
Perhaps the most useful thing my friend pointed out (which I haven’t before seen so clearly) was the idea that in church singing is serving. Yes, serving God in the sense of praising him, but also an opportunity to serve one another. He reminded me that almost everywhere else we go we get to choose what music we listen to – radio, YouTube, Spotify, the car, the bath, your iPod – you choose what you want. And so it’s perhaps no surprise that we often end up consuming churches and their music in a similar fashion. But, as my friend said, if we’re the body gathered then there should be something completely different going on. It should be an opportunity to serve someone else by singing what they want to sing – and taking great delight in their pleasure. I don’t particularly like One Direction but I put the CD on in my car because I do like the pleasure it brings my daughter. Someone somewhere once said that the ideal church music situation would be where young people were championing the tastes of the old, and the old were championing the tastes of the young.
We all too often come to church wanting the sort of music, songs, style that we like, we want, we would choose. Perhaps instead we ought to be serving someone else by seeking to sing the things they love. Can you imagine what it’d be like if everybody acted like this. Me neither!