Musicianship?

Today at TMC was the bi-annual “departmental chapel.” Instead of holding chapel in the gym, each major broke up into groups and held their own individual chapel services. The owner of several Baja Fresh restaraunts in the area came and spoke to the business majors, addressing the need for balance between the physical world and the spirtual world. Business majors tend to be quite the materialistic group of individuals, so this message is always welcome in my own heart.

Interestingly enough, the portion of chapel which most impacted me was the time of singing before the message. Here at TMC, we are blessed to be led in music by the very talented Chapel Band three times a week.  The music today was quite below the usual high-quality music. It wasn’t bad, but the songs were not my personal favorites. I didn’t want to sing and praise the Father for what He has done in my life due to the low quality of the music.

During this, a sobering quote from Augustine came to mind. I don’t remember the exact wording, but it went something like this: The moment singing becomes more powerful to me than the truth I am singing, I would prefer not to sing at all. The truth of this statement is quite powerful. I wonder how much of our singing is for the Lord and how much of it is seeking an emotional high. A beautiful melody can very well amplify the message contained within a song, but the focus must not be on the melody, but rather the words being sung.

There must be a balance to this, of course. I very much appreciate a well written song. I am the kind of person always listening to music or humming a tune throughout the day. There is a reason hymns such as “Great Is Thy Faithfulness” endured, but “I Am Not Skilled to Understand” passed into anonymity. Musical quality is of great importance, as we should practice music to the glory of God. However, it must not be foundational to the quality of worship we bring to Father as we sing.

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