Music Sets the Mood

“And He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God; many will see and fear, and will trust in the Lord.”
Psalm 40:3

I cringe every time I hear it. You know the comment. You get to discussing music in the church with someone and they fire off the comment, “Oh, you all (in the church of Christ) are the ones who do not have music!” Wrong, wrong, wrong! And shame on you if you have ever said that! Please tell me what we are doing when a leader pitches a song, people hold up books with notes on a page and together we sing words of harmonious melody in praise to our God. Is this not music? You bet!

The scriptures are clear as to the type of music God wants from His church. He even specifies the instrument He wishes to hear (the human heart) as well as the kinds of songs that please Him. Ephesians 5:19 says, “Speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord.” God asks that we lift up our hearts and blend our voices in song together. The melody we make comes from the heart and the cords we play are our own vocal cords. That is music! Denominational churches now believe that in order to attract people, they must bring in all these “contemporary” groups which use instrumental music. In their minds, “traditional” music just does not cut it anymore. To suggest that a cappella music is not music simply because there is not a man-made box of strings sounding out a tune is ridiculous. Yes, we have music in the church of Jesus Christ! This is music that is “in tune” with the desires of the One toward whom the music is directed (Colossians 3:16).

Nevertheless, if there is one area of worship where churches tend to be weak, it is in the area of music. We put a great deal of effort into our preaching and teaching, and sometimes very little into our music. We want quality lessons that instruct, encourage, and motivate, but we rarely think about the quality and enthusiasm of our singing or how it could be better. As a result, the entire mood of the worship assembly is brought down by the poor quality of the singing.

In Psalm 40:3, the psalmist suggests a clear connection between music and evangelism. Our singing should serve as an inspiration to our visitors. It should be uplifting and inspiring as they observe us blend our voices in praise to the One who has given us everything. Psalm 100:2 says, “Serve the Lord with gladness; come before Him with joyful singing.” The truth is that some worship assemblies sound more like funerals than periods of joyful worship. Someone has well said, “Funeral dirge anthems and stiff-collared song leaders will kill a church faster than anything else in the world!” A hearty “AMEN” to that!

It is true that different people and age groups prefer different songs. Older folks enjoy the slower “old favorites” learned from childhood while younger people like newer songs with a faster tempo and with different parts. Nevertheless, the important point to remember is that there is room for both. It is crucial that we realize how important our music is to our worship. Is there anything more beautiful than a congregation of God’s people lifting up their voices in melodious praise through song? Likewise, who knows what impact for good our singing will have on our visitors. So, let’s open our books and our mouths and SING! You will see that it is a little taste of heaven here on earth.

Wilson Adams

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