Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Music in Worship

For those who don't know, I play "lead guitar" with the (insert your favorite term here:  worship team, praise team, worship band, praise band, etc.) for our wonderful little church family.  Recently, our Worship Leader has started using Youtube if she wants us to hear a new song before we practice it.  I've enjoyed using Youtube because I can then link to other videos by the artist or other versions of the song, etc.  

Last week we played a new song by Misty Edwards.  Corinna (Madame Worship Leader) sent us a video of her performing the song live, and all was well.  As I watched the video again after practice, I decided to check out the comments, and I found that several were negative.  Some people just didn't like the song, and that's fine.  (Personally, I really liked it, and I thought our church responded to the song.)  I then noticed that some people were decrying the style of music itself.  (It was far from being a hard-rockin' song, but it did have a nice groove and electric guitars.  Gasp!)  One person even went so far as to say (my paraphrasing) that since our "spirit" is the opposite of our "flesh," then any style of music we might personally enjoy (in our "flesh") is not what God requires of us in our worship of Him (in our "spirit.")

Um . . . what?

If this is the case, then how can we, as humans, ever create music that is worthy of worship?  When Jesus and His apostles sang a hymn after celebrating Passover, was it a song that they hated?  If we ever dig up the sheet music to the Psalms, will we find the sonic equivalent of nails on a blackboard?  If that commenter is correct, I suppose we have to sing nothing but dissonant yelps with every instrument playing in a different key.  Better yet, we'll invent new keys and have every instrument play in a different new key.

I can agree with the spirit of that person's thought.  If I'm more interested in the music I'm playing than I am in leading my church family into the presence of Adonai, I am not correct.  If I'm more interested in nailing that solo than I am in playing my heart before God, I am not correct.  If I look at a moment of worship and decry it's value because it doesn't "rock" enough, I am not correct.  Unfortunately, those are all things of which I am guilty.

But the poster's  way of thinking just doesn't . . . seem right.  The Psalms seem to me to be filled with exhortations to praise God, and the word "joy" is even used.  Doesn't it make sense, then, that a person would joyfully sing praise in the manner that is most natural to them?  For example, the hardcore Christian metal scene has "gorship," the practice of using brutal hardcore metal to praise God.  Does God despise that?  I've been able to witness people using that music to worship the Creator in what appears to be spirit and truth, and I can't see God turning His face from that.

But just in case Mr. Commenter is correct, I'm tuning my guitar to Zilg-Minor-7th this Sunday.  Bring your earplugs, Vineyard Community Church.  We're going to worship the right way.

Any thoughts?

Thanks for reading.

Currently spinning in the truck:  Iron Maiden "A Matter of Life and Death"
Currently spinning on iTunes:  Run Kid Run "Love at the Core"
Most-recently read:  THE REGULATORS by Richard Bachman (a.k.a. Stephen King)
Most-recently viewed:  DUCK SOUP


  1. One of the things I've noticed in the contemporary worship conversation is the emphasis on worshipping in Spirit and Truth (God being both as attributed by the apostle John). What I think is often forgotten is the instruction of James who tells us to worship with reverence and awe. I'm not sure if that rules out any specific type of music but I think it speaks to type of heart we should cultivate when approaching worship.

  2. Reverence and awe. Two things I know I overlook entirely too much. Thanks for bringing it up.

  3. I'm just glad you're listening to Run Kid Run. Love At the Core is actually my favorite CD to 'run' to right now. It's one of those rediscoveries.
    (Sorry, but I just found this blog)
    About the type of music being important, I would think that playing music that one hated would make it much harder to reach any degree of worship. And then, we'd have so much more to worry about. What if God likes the piano more than the guitar, or what if he doesn't like what you're wearing while you worship? Jesus didn't die for Rock and Roll or hip hop or folk music, he died for us... So it's where we are and what we are feeling that constitutes worship. That is how I would define a joyful noise.