Music is powerful. It moves us. It creates emotion in us in a way that is difficult to explain.
This is not always the same thing as worship. I knew a coworker once who was an atheist. His favorite song: Amazing Grace.
Rich Mullins was a popular Christian artist in the 80s and 90s. People would go up to him after his shows and say things like “Wow! The Holy Spirit really moved at that certain point in the song.” Rich would respond “No actually, that is where the kick drum and bass came in.”
My friends and I in college used to joke about key changes. Generally speaking, changing keys in the middle of the song creates energy, and we would jokingly pretend to be overcome with emotion when one occurred in a song we were listening to.
The point is that it is easy to mistake energy and emotion for worship.
I’m amused and a little saddened by the quote from Rich. There is truth to it. Music has the power to create emotions, and those emotions can be confused with true worship and the moving of the Holy Spirit inside of us. But I think Rich is a little too cynical here.
There are times in our lives where our emotions don’t lie. There are times when we do feel the Spirit. There are times when we truly do worship in this way. And there are times, though certainly not always, when music is the facilitator.
Before I go further, let me say this. Strong emotions are not a requirement for worship. You should read Jonathan’s recent posts for more on God and our feelings.
My question is simple. Have you had a time when the Lord used music to engage your heart?
For me, I’ve had several. I had the time where I was worried about the quality of the music one Sunday, and the Lord reminded me that “a thousand times I’ve failed, still Your mercy remains” and “should I stumble again, I’m caught in Your grace”. I had the time in the car where God asked “why are you striving these days? why are you trying to earn grace?” I had the time recently where God grounded me in my core beliefs with “I believe in God the Father. Almighty maker of heaven and maker of earth…”
I also had the pleasure of being a part of one epic night of worship with my closest college friends. We had no plan. We had no agenda. We played songs for hours. We read scriptures. We prayed. We worshiped together and happened to lead others at the same time.
How has God spoken to your heart through music? Do tell.