Reflection: Proof that God gets Us.
Tonight's reflection is written by Phoebe Scott, the Worship Leader at Camp Celebrate 2019!
Once, I asked a friend why God created music. They answered, “So that we could use it to worship Him.” They did not say “duh!” at the end of that sentence, but they may as well have. Along with making me feel like a bad Christian for not thinking of it myself, this response left me dissatisfied. Surely the eternal purpose of music is directly related to worship music – it was given to us to give back to the Lord, just like every good thing we have in this life (James 1:17). However, if our singing voices, our guitars, our drums, and our pianos are nothing but objects through which we give worship to God, then why do they bring us more joy than other “objects of praise” like pews or communion cups? Why is human life so heavily infused with and influenced by it? God must have created music for a grander purpose – there must be more.
Music is the most vivid way that I see Eucharisteo, or a spirit of thankfulness, in my life. I am thankful for the gift that it is to me, and I give thanks back to the Lord through worship. Additionally, we see Eucharisteo through song in the Psalms of David. In battle, he sang (Psalm 144); in times of trouble, he sang (Psalm 57); in betrayal, he sang (Psalm 55). I once heard a pastor say that, if anyone understood hurt, it was David, and if anyone understood what God can do with hurt people, it’s also David. This man – routinely called a man after God’s own heart – had to write, sing, play, and praise his way out of the valley over and over again. How much have we had to do this post-Revelation? Think of the music of the Vietnam Era: The Beatles’ “Let It Be”, The Rolling Stones’ “Gimme Shelter”, Phil Ochs’ “I Ain’t Marching Anymore”, Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Fortunate Son,” and countless others. These are some of the most influential songs in our history, and they were written in attempts to process and cope with the effects of the war. Are these not Psalms as well? Do these songs not include prayers for answers or safety? Do they not mark a sharp turn in mindset, or express impressions of solitude and exile? In the Gospel of John, Jesus teaches that we will have trouble in this world. Not that we might, or that we should, but that we will. He also tells us to be brave, to take heart, to cheer up, because He has overcome the world; and, through Him, so have we (John 16:33). I believe that God knew we would find “taking heart” to be very difficult. I mean, he must have, because He gave us music.
This is how we know that God gets us: not only did he form us from dust, knit us together in our mothers’ wombs, and create in us idiosyncrasies and physical attributes that set us apart (Psalm 139); but He gave us – as a gift, free of charge – the ability to write and sing songs of freedom, victory, grief, pain, love, and faith so that we can dance for joy in the valley. He knew that we needed something to help us cling to hope, to joy, to love. Think of the songs you sang through the break-ups, the loss of loved one, the prom nights, the middle school dances, the wedding days. How different would those experiences have been without the soundtrack – whether it was worship music or not? Indeed, we were made to worship the Lord, because of what He has done for us, and for who He is – as the Word says, “Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.” (Psalm 150:6). But we cannot forget that God made us and gave us the beauty of Creation – the sights and the sounds – out of the abundance of His heart. His fervent, incredible, boundless love created every note on the scale, every string on the guitar, every key on the piano, and every last one of our voices. So, today, make a joyful noise. Feel your vocal cords vibrate, sink into your piano bench, lose yourself in the beat of a drum and dance like David – unashamed, undignified. This is our purpose – to worship, to praise, and to give thanks for our abundant life. Amen.