Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives. Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom he gives. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts. ~Colossians 3:16 (NLT)
My harp plays sad music, and my flute accompanies those who weep. ~Job 30:31
I was standing on stage, singing with the worship band at my church. The instruments were playing, the congregation was singing, and music filled the air. Suddenly, I felt the overwhelming presence of the Holy Spirit moving through the room and filling my soul. Tears worked their way to the edge of my eyelids and my vocal chords grew tight and shaky. I took a deep breath, and continued to lift that song of praise up to the God who was so very present in that place of worship.
For me, music is one of the most important parts of worship. It reaches my spirit and opens me up to hear God’s Word. Sometimes a song conveys God’s message as well, or better, than any other part of the worship service. Sometimes a song leaves me feeling melancholy or contemplative. It quiets my soul and brings me to a place where I can thoughtfully reflect on the words God wants to speak into my life. At other time, a song fills me with excitement and joy, and a desire to raise my voice in praise for my Creator.
Music has the power to evoke strong emotions from deep within my soul. Sometimes a song will bring me to tears, while another will make me smile, or laugh, or overflow with joy. Sometimes a song speaks hope into my heart when I am feeling troubled, while another will encourage me in my calling to follow Christ. Throughout the Bible, we see examples of music being use in times of celebration and in times of sadness, in times of triumph and in times of defeat.
We see the same thing today. Music is used at weddings, where we celebrate with songs of love and commitment. We often celebrate special occasions with uplifting and energetic music – with songs that lift us to our feet in dances of joy. But music is also played during funerals when hearts are sad and broken. The songs played and sung during these times can offer comfort, peace, and assurance to those who have lost a loved one. Sometimes, when troubles prevail, a special song is what we need to open our hearts and allow the healing tears to flow.
Have you ever experienced God in music? Try playing your favorite song of praise and worship. Close your eyes and listen for God in the lyrics. Is He speaking to your heart? Or close your eyes while you play an instrumental composition. Listen for the presence of God. Can you hear Him in the intricate ways the notes are strung together? Is He present in the precision of the rhythm?
Music is truly a gift from God – a gift given with love for His creation. Though music, we can offer praise and thanksgiving; we can express love for family and friends; we can celebrate; we can mourn; and we can dance. And we can come into the presence of the Living God.