I promised good brother Chalcedon that I would write a post that I most definitely believe that both Roman Catholics and Protestants can agree on. So here it is.
I am here to talk on the topic of music. What is originally was for, and what it has become today.
Music has existed since the beginning of time, in fact there is a verse in Genesis mentioning the angels singing praises to God. But throughout Scripture, we are commanded to make the glorification of God our primary purpose for music. In verses from Psalms, James, Revelation, God is the center of all music.
Psalm 105:2, Sing to him, sing praises to him; tell of all his wondrous works! David understood that God should be glorified in everything that we do, especially in music.
Even Protestant composers like Johann Sebastian Bach and Franz Josef Haydn believed that it was only human to worship God with music.
J.S. Bach writes, “The aim and final end of all music is none other than the glorification of God, and the refreshment of the soul.” Surely any Protestant or Catholic would agree? An example of Bach’s loyalty to God, was writing Jesu Juva (Jesus help me) at the start of all of his pieces, and Soli Deo Gloria
Martin Luther wrote, “With all my heart, I would choose to extol the precious gift of God in the noble art of music… Music is to be praised as a second only to the Word of God because by her all the emotions are swayed. Nothing on earth is more mighty to make the sad joyful and the joyful sad, to hearten the downcast, mellow the overweening, temper the exuberant, or mollify the vengeful… This precious gift has been bestowed on people to remind them that they are created to praise and magnify the Lord. But when natural music is sharpened and polished by art, then one begins to see with amazement the great and perfect wisdom of God in his wonderful work of music… He who does not find this an inexpressible miracle of the Lord is truly a clod and is not worthy to be called a human being.”
Maybe that last part was a bit harsh but you know how Luther was…
From Bach’s St. Matthew Passion, to demonstrate that words like these could only be God inspired…
Come, ye daughters, help me lament, Behold! Whom? The Bridegroom. Behold him! How? Like a lamb. Behold! What? Behold his patience. Behold! Where? Behold our guilt. Behold Him, out of love and graciousness, Himself carrying the wood of the cross.
O guiltless Lamb of God, Slaughtered on the stem of the cross, Always found patient, Although thou wast despised. , All sin hast thou borne, Else we must have despaired. Have mercy upon us, O Jesus.
Unfortunately, the use of music has become vastly different in today’s society. Before I continue, I must admit that I am a large culprit of this. Music is a lot of the times used for self-pleasure, our own personal feelings and desires, which, isn’t a bad thing, but it is when we leave God out of the picture that it becomes a sin.
Where I work, the staff like to play their own music on the speaker system that we have. if you know me, I will look at the writer’s date of birth, and if it goes past 1900, then I will refuse to listen to the music unless I have no choice. They play their music constantly, which is full of cuss words and adult content. But I noticed that the music is also meaningless, and quite stupid if you ask me. It shows no sense of praise to God at all, but I am not saying that we should only listen to old, Christian music. Don’t get me wrong, there is some very devout, modern music writers, such as Sidewalk Prophets or Richard Vaughan. But the focus of God has been left out largely because of pagan influences within our society.
The Bible sums up pretty clearly what music was intended for, and it is important to not forget this. We just have to do it.
Psalm 95:1 “Come, let us sing for joy to the LORD; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation.
“The Lord God omnipotent reigneth!” G.F. Handel from “The Messiah”