Mr. Music, Please…Why We Mustn’t Argue over Musical Styles of Worship (Part 1 of 3)

My Daddy gifted me with a feverish love of music from as far back as I can remember. Every night when he’d come home from work, he’d head back to the den, crank up the stereo, and pop on an album of lovely jazz. (You youngsters may be wondering what exactly an “album” is.)

Black Vinyl Lp Album Disc, Isolated Long Play Disk With Blank La

Henry Mancini, Herb Albert and the Tijuana Brass, Benny Goodman, Frank Sinatra, you-name-it, he had their music. I’d sit with my parents in the family room, allowing the music to soothe our souls, while Daddy would share the happenings of his day.

Once I began to take piano lessons, Daddy also took them to encourage me to keep at it. Initially we took from an uber talented guy who was in a jazz combo’. (Any of you hailing from Lexington may remember Dave Perry.) He taught us both classical and jazz/contemporary music.

Music Notes

Near the end of each lesson, provided I’d mastered his assignment, Dave would allow me to pick any current favorite song. He’d then write it up in a manuscript book, along with the chords. He was smart, knowing that if I’d learn the classical pieces first, my treat was learning the hippest tunes.

When I turned Sweet Sixteen, desirous of a cute sports car, or any car, I got a Steinway and Sons baby grand piano instead. Yeah, well, it had three wheels instead of four. Mother said, “You’re not going to major in driving in school, you’re going to major in music!!!” Alrighty then… 

Piano

(Cool backstory on this piano: One of my Grandmother’s friends in Palm Beach, Florida, owned a pair of these pianos. They sold one to my parents, thanks to prodding from my Grandmother who happened to be a proficient pianist. I was blessed to sit under her coaching for a few years until her unexpected death.)

Over the next three weeks, we’ll be talking about different types of music. When we arrive at the third part in this series, you’ll get to hear from a dear friend of mine, Elizabeth Jeffries. Elizabeth will share with us how hymns have greatly enhanced her morning quiet times with the Lord.

*** We’ll have another book giveaway in part 3 also!!!***

While I’m now a fan of both traditional hymns and contemporary ones, my prayer for this post is to encourage you to think out of the box. In other words, forget about one style of music being better than another and focus on the words to praise the Lord. 

Next week, I’ll share some favorite songs with you, showing you how many lyrics largely come straight out of Scripture. What better way to worship the Lord than with His Word? 

Old Bible With Sword

Let’s have some fun first: Two hilarious nicknames for contemporary worship have recently fallen under my radar:

“7/11” hymns: Where seven words are sung eleven times. Think about that for a minute…. HA

Another phrase for these songs I heard the first time from a friend in Lexington. He dubs them “Jesus-is-my-boyfriendsongs.” That deserves another alrighty then….(Checkout www.praytellblog.com for an article on “Jesus is my boyfriend songs: New entries in the struggle between ‘orthodox’ and ‘pietist’ hymnody?”)

So we don’t argue over different styles, let’s hear from author Dee Brestin in her book The God of All Comfort: Finding Your Way into His Arms. She recounts when a friend called her to the carpet on her remarks dissing contemporary tunes.

The God of All Comfort

Dee begins with a frightening point I’d not considered: “Perhaps because music is such a powerful tool against the enemy, it is also a way he has sought to divide the body of Christ. “ Yikes.

She then gives us two verses, Ephesians 5:19 and Colossians 3:16 which both talk about singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs

Composer Isaac Watts said,

Just as we do not ask that our preachers speak only the words of Scripture, neither should we insist that we sing only the words of Scripture, but instead, be open to hymns and spiritual songs based on scriptural themes.”

Isaac Watts

Dee’s friend Ann wrote her a letter paralleling Watts’ sentiments:

“I have thought a lot about the sheer volume and variety of music about Jesus Christ…

Think of:

Gregorian chants,

Bach’s organ music,

Great hymns,

The Gaithers,

Russian Orthodox music,

Christmas music,

Handel’s Messiah,

Mozart’s Requiem,

Choral music,

Praise and worship music,

Current rock music that honors Christ and reaches teenagers.

Thousands upon thousands of songs written to the praise and glory of God. All different styles. Beautiful….” What a list!!! (Dee also includes words to hymns at the back of her book that have helped her cope with the death of her husband. Her book is invaluable.)

Let’s close with an old hymn with a new twist, Great is Thy Faithfulness, thanks to gifted London vocalist Sam Robson. Some of the chords are so rich, they’ll make you melt. (Imagine the patience and time such an undertaking required for this arrangement!)

Loads of thanks go out to my buddy Liz Curtis Higgs who introduced many of us to Sam in a recent blog about God’s faithfulness. www.lizcurtishiggs.com

Turn up the volume and tune in your ears:

Lyrics are below if you wish to sing along:

“Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father;

There is no shadow of turning with Thee,

Thou changest not, Thy compassions they fail not,

As Thou hast been, Thou forever wilt be.

Refrain:

Great is Thy faithfulness!


Great is Thy faithfulness!


Morning by morning new mercies I see


All I have needed Thy hand hath provided


Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord unto me!

Summer and winter and springtime and harvest,

Sun, moon, and stars in their courses above;

Join with all nature in manifold witness,

To Thy great faithfulness, mercy, and love.

(Refrain)

Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth,

Thine own great presence to cheer and to guide;

Strength for today, and bright hope for tomorrow

Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside.”

(Refrain)

‘Til next time!

Advertisements

4 Comments

Filed under Book Reviews, Family

4 responses to “Mr. Music, Please…Why We Mustn’t Argue over Musical Styles of Worship (Part 1 of 3)

  1. Barbara Hay

    My goodness. Yesterday Thursday, in bible study, we were expressing how Christian music soothes souls,relieves stress, and bring us to joy in The Lord. I read your blog today, Friday and am amazed! We are on the same wave length! Praying for you! I’m so looking forward to hearing inspiration from you at Hurstbourne Baptist Church for our Fountains of Friendship!

    • Thank you so much! Music soooo soothes my soul….I pray I may convince others of this….Excited for 4/23 @ HBC…will write about it soon.
      Working on a post about two other songs which are so good for worship,
      Hugs & Happy Weekend. Love, E 🙂

  2. Janice Zipfel

    What a wonderful thing it is for the Lord to bring a song to you to assure you of His presence – thru it all. Once after a very long, horrible time when He delivered me of wanting an answer instead of Him this song came to my mind almost instantly. He was assuring me that no matter how bad it had been (and might still be) He had been and will always be faithful. That is His nature, He can be nothing but faithful.