Monday, May 12, 2014

Music and Meaning: All Forms are Valid

I read some thoughts this morning from Harold Best. His thoughts and works have always been foundational . . . and challenging. Seriously, I often need to re-read some of his paragraphs. Then I'll go into a musical-philosophical quandary for half an hour, and then I'll come back and read some more. This stuff is real meat.

According to Scripture, God granted humankind extraordinary sovereignty over what He made, and by extension, over what it makes.  Music does not make itself.  We bring it into being, and it is neither one with us (we are not the music) nor empowered over us.  If we allow this order to be reversed, the result is inevitable: We become shaped by what we have shaped and by allowing this, have turned to idolatry. But if music is in submission to us and not the reverse, we offer it freely as an act of worship—no more and no less—and are thus delivered from depending on it as a cause of worship. Even when we talk about music being an aid to, or tool for, worship, we are flirting with sovereignty-reversal, especially in this culture of narcissism and power mongering.  Furthermore, if I look to music as an aid, and end up in a worship service where the music is stylistically upsetting or even offensive, does it then become an aid to non-worship?  Not as long as I understand that the Holy Spirit is the sovereign Aid to worship, who can neutralize any temporary circumstance.  Likewise, if I find myself in a musical setting that is rhapsodically wonderful, I must remember that the beauty of the music cannot approach the glory and wonder of Almighty God. 

You can read the rest here. HT: 9Marks

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