(Re)Tune – It Strikes a Chord

Posted: 02/22/2011 in (Re)Tune, Introductions, Personal Walk
Tags: , , , , , ,

This past weekend I had the privilege of attending Lisa Golenburg’s Master Recital (Second Half). I wish the sound quality/balance in these videos matched what it was like live, but I’ll leave it at… if you weren’t there you missed out.

Lisa’s accompanist stayed at my place and we had a fantastic conversation about the church and its role in the arts.

I commented yesterday that I don’t care too much for music on K-Love…i.e. “christian music.” Let me explain, I don’t have a personal vendetta against this radio station, or think that the music played on it is inherently evil, but I do think that a large percentage of the songs are theologically flimsy and not very creative.

While I don’t think that a person is required to love “classical” music, or that older is automatically better, but there are a great number of compositions that have been written throughout church history that have so much more going on. Actually, as a challenge to me, and to keep this from being a conversation about contemporary vs antiquity, all of the songs I reference here will be from the past 25 years.

Over Christmas, we were talking about the incarnation of Jesus Christ: how mind-boggling and amazing it is that Jesus, fully God, would take on humanity. As we talked about how gloriously preposterous this is, the depth of reflection we had in our music… all seemed a bit lacking.

The following piece is from the text, “O Magnum Mysterium.”

If your Latin is a bit rusty, the first line jumps straight into how marvelous the incarnation of God the son, the birth of Jesus Christ in a stable is:

O magnum mysterium,
et admirabile sacramentum,
ut animalia viderent Dominum natum,
jacentem in praesepio!

O great mystery,
and wonderful sacrament,
that animals should see the new-born Lord,
lying in a manger!

This version composed by Morten Lauridsen I think captures the quiet reverence and awe of that momentous moment in history invokes, and then builds to the into the revelation of the glory of all that was implied the incarnation of Jesus.

I love this piece because it invites you
to stop
and listen. 

If you have a couple of minutes, read through John 1:1-18, put on headphones, turn up the volume and listen to a piece written to honor and glorify God.

I don’t know about you, but that piece stirs my heart, and spurs me onto worship when I think about Jesus’ birth.

I’m not making the point that there must be classical training or some text in another language, I mean let’s be serious, wasn’t part of the Protestant reformation to stop using Latin. What I am saying is that I love music that doesn’t just allow me to be comfortable, but that challenges me with the truth of who God is and my identity in Him. 

The next piece is from a group that seemly “takes the easy way out” by writing music to Psalms, but this simple composition is replete with truth that should challenge and ground us in our faith:

O LORD, you have searched me and known me!
 You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
  you discern my thoughts from afar.
 You search out my path and my lying down
  and are acquainted with all my ways.
 Even before a word is on my tongue,
  behold, O LORD, you know it altogether.
 You hem me in, behind and before,
  and lay your hand upon me.
 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
  it is high; I cannot attain it.
(Psalm 139:1-6 ESV) 

Finally, last week as I was finishing up my research on love someone sent me the following by David Crowder Band.

I know, I know… David Crowder is on K-Love. The reason that I picked this last video is that there really are some good songs out there, songs that are steeped in good theology and well written. In addition to this, I wanted to add a piece that was a considerable distance from “O Magnum Mysterium” in texture and esthetic.

I will also admit, that I like this video because of the sermon clips that are added in. Despite all that I have written above, I can often find myself going on auto-pilot and not thinking about the words that I’m hearing or singing… in all actuality I might as well be singing in Latin; I wouldn’t even notice.

Worship isn’t about entertainment, or something to pass time, or a buffer zone so people can get to the sermon on time, or have a few minutes to leave early.   Worship isn’t just about making noise, nor is it about the act of singing certain songs.

Worship is responding to and being reminded of how glorious and holy God is. Worship is a response, not out of duty, a response of joy, of trust and thankfulness, of reverence and contrition.

The topic of worship reminds me of one of my favorite passages in the Bible: Jesus and the Samaritan woman. In this section Jesus said:

But the hour is coming, and is now here,
when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth,
for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. God is spirit,
and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”
(John 4:23-24 ESV)

We are called to worship in spirit AND in truth, with our hearts and our minds. I could go on for a while on this, but I’ll refer you to J. Piper’s writings on Worship, and just leave it at:

As I deeply desire to worship in spirit and truth,
I yearn for music that would strike a chord
in my heart and mind and spirit, 
strengthening this longing to embrace a
heart-embracing, mind-engaging, soul-shaking
adoration of God 

  1. coffeenut79 says:

    How true. I love to worship, and I usually find that I like the deep metaphorical songs since I can sign a really beautiful picture of what and who God is. We’re having a concert next month, and it took me two weeks to find a song that I felt was powerful enough and fitting enough for me. I’m doing a song by Fireflight (lately I’ve been attracted to the harder rock music) and signing it is my way of worship.
    I am not influenced a lot by some of the older latin songs, but they do pack a powerful punch of worship. It does make me want to just pull out all my worship albums and sign away for hours.
    Your blogging is awesome… 🙂 I’m proud of you!

    • mgmstudious says:

      Thank you so much Hannah, what two songs are you doing? I have a number of artist I can suggest, there are certainly some awesome songs out there.

  2. Mom/Sally says:

    thank you for sending this to me…it is getting late so I will pour over it tomorrow morning and send “feedback” ❤ u

    • Mom/Sally says:

      I love the Sons of Korah selection…one of my favorites. I believe realness is essential to worship and I am moved by the songs that bring me to my basic self…cuz that is the Sally God knows and sees…and amazingly He loves. You are precious, dear boy, and I am blessed to know you…I am humbled by the privilege that God gave me to be your “mum.” XO

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