Why Don’t Men Sing? (Part 3)
About four weeks ago, I posted a blog entitled How Many Members Played a Part in David’s Orchestra? This blog emphasized the large number of people affiliated with David’s Temple Orchestra but as a consequence not only demonstrated that 3,000 years ago the worship of the temple emphasized the big sound but also busily trained a large number of musicians for leadership. This observation leads to the first of this blog’s emphases for local church music (for context see parts 1 and 2).
10. Every person who has gained some level of ability on a musical instrument of any kind should be invited to participate in praising God through the orchestra. I have no objection to the use of guitars and drums. To the contrary, I favor their use in church, and I am grateful for the learned expertise of so many of our youth with those instruments. Many people learned an instrument in school only to have largely forgotten it altogether in the present demise.
Under no circumstance should the church fail to develop these talents. First, they represent skills that can be put to use for God’s glory. Second, if not urged to employ even a basic grasp of an instrument, many of those people will fail to participate in the musical worship. To pursue this initiative involves the church in providing training for orchestra. Someone has to be employed in writing musical scores. But all of this is fundamental to the ministry of the church. And nothing— literally nothing—will do as much to help the men sing as the presence of an orchestra. In addition to age range choirs the director of music needs to focus early on the basic orchestrational skills.
11. The violin and the piano most nearly approximate the human voice and need to play the lead role in instrumentation. The role of piano in accompanying is of incalculable value. Violins, violas, and cellos, along with harps, contribute immeasurably to the melodic nature of musical worship and provide examples of people using multiplied talents for the cause of Christ.
12. In a service of worship, dead air time is to be avoided unless fully and rarely intentional for thoughtful purposes. Attention spans are often bifurcated among today’s worshippers. A carefully planned service of praise moves effectively and purposefully from an initial moment of introduction until it completes itself, having prepared the hearts of the listeners for the crucial moment of the reading and exposition of God’s Word. Dead time is almost always a testimony to inadequate preparation or planning.
13. The pastor is THE WORSHIP LEADER and as such has the responsibility of overseeing the direction and movement of the entire service. There is no harm created by reference to the music leader as the “music pastor.” To the contrary, such a reference goes a long way toward emphasizing the spiritual nature of his assignment. But I raise serious questions about designating him as “worship pastor.” First, he is not the “worship pastor.” To speak of him as “worship pastor” implies that worship is equated with music. Worship, as important as it is, is not limited to or even principally represented by music. Prayer, the reading of the Scriptures, and most of all the exposition of God’s Word are critical to worship. When Josiah found the Word of God and the prophets expounded it, God used it to bring about revival (2 Chronicles 34).
14. The historical continuity of the congregation should never be neglected. 2000 years of church history have been a history of song. An adequate grasp of the Reformation is not possible without the singing of Luther’s great hymn, A Mighty Fortress Is Our God. Knowing the story of the drowning of Horatio Spafford’s children in the Atlantic provides a comprehension of the verses of When Peace Like a River. In the middle of that hymn, perhaps the two greatest verses ever written outside the Bible on the subject of the atonement of Christ occur.
“My sin oh, the bliss of this glorious thought:
My sin not in part but the whole.
Is nailed to the cross and I bear it no more
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord o my soul!”
Imagine growing up in an evangelical church and reaching maturity, never having sung or heard Charles Wesley’s great hymn And Can It Be.
Long my imprisoned spirit lay
Fast bound in sin and nature’s night
Thine eye diffused a quickening ray
I woke, the dungeon flamed with light
My chains fell off, my heart was free
I rose, went forth and followed Thee.
Is there anywhere in literature a description of what happened at conversion that comes close? And on we could go, but it is sufficient to make the case for continuity with great Christians of history.