Monday, May 20, 2013

Music and Jesus: The Perfect Mix of Creation and Salvation, Rock on!

Ok, I'm a baby boomer. I get it. I grew up with rock 'n roll. A friend of mine still puts the classic rock station on the radio when he picks me up and we head out for a coffee or a cigar.

My friends and I would attend an average 10 concerts a summer after we graduated from high school. It was our very own little summer concert tour. If you've ever attended a live rock show, you know the thrill, the excitement, the fun. My favorite rock concert always has been and will be Bruce Springsteen and the E-Street Band. I saw Springsteen  4 times.

If you're going to do something, do it right.

My dad raised me in true blue collar fashion. He would always tell me, "if you're going to do something, do it right." When it comes to music, it fits there as well. When "Bruce" puts on a show, it was incredible. It was the whole package, the heart felt music, the rough voice, the audience participation, the lights, the saxophone solos by "Clarence." His shows lasted 3.5 - 4 hours. He does Rock, right. That's why he's a classic.

Luther and Bruce - Music and Message

You're kidding me. Only a Lutheran Pastor would put Martin Luther, the church's classic, number one reformer, in the same phrase as the Boss (Springsteen's nickname). Luther understood the power of music, the importance of songs/hymns, and the gift it is from creation (Listen to two musical giants, Schalk and Bouman on the gift of music. 30 second clips).

Christianity gets music in church as well as Springsteen gets rock 'n roll. Of music, Luther wrote,
Music makes people kinder, gentler, more staid and reasonable. The devil flees before the sound of music almost as much as before the Word of God. 
Nothing on earth is so well-suited to make the sad merry, the merry sad, to give courage to the despairing, to make the proud humble, to lessen envy and hate, as music.
Next to the Word of God, the noble art of music is the greatest treasure in the world.
Youth should be taught this art... for it makes fine skillful people
Our Savior has a wonderful history of music. However, notice how music is used in the church. Like everything in church, it serves Christ. It is a treasure that is next to the Word. Whatever music is used in church it must only be the scaffold that supports God's word, the proclamation of law and gospel.

Church Music Reflects the Words of God.

Music is the second most important thing in church. Lutherans believe that the most important thing is faithfulness to God's Word. God calls us to repentance for our sin. He then calls us into His holy presence to receive forgiveness that Jesus earned for us. No instrument, can get in the way of the message. The music will never be elevated or louder than the Word.

Bruce is no Luther

That's the difference between Bruce and Luther - between church and a great rock concert. Those of us who can appreciate great musical entertainment, even rock, know that when we go to hear the Boss and the band "rock it out," it is about the music! The music creates the mood, the atmosphere; the fun that goes with enjoying a rock show. The audience "gets into it" because of the music. The words aren't really that important.

However, in the church, music's purpose is not the music, the fun, the atmosphere. In church, music is
the unseen marriage of created gifts that bear the holy Word of God. Music in church is the humble servant that prepares the feast of the life saving body and blood of Jesus to be given to the festal saints. The music only reflects the theology of the Lord. In turn, we give thanks for the gifts the Lord gives. The music brings Jesus into our presence so that He may save us with Cup of the New Testament.

In other words, let Springsteen do his thing and give us a great show. Let Christ's Bride prepare the banquet so that we may hear, taste, and sing the holy words that God gave to us - in order to say back to him. The former is 62 years old and when he dies so does his music and shows. When Jesus died, the music of His Bride was empowered to sing forever because He rose from the dead. The Bride's music implants the Word into our very being unto life everlasting.

No comments:

Post a Comment