>December 5, 2008
“When in our music God is glorified,
And adoration leaves no room for pride,
It is as though the whole creation cried: Alleluia…”
– Fred Pratt Green
This quote is on the syllabus of my ‘Music in Worship’ class. I think it’s obvious enough that I really like what Green has to say, and I would like to unpack some of my thoughts regarding it. Let’s begin with the first line…
“When in our music God is glorified,”:
If one subscribes to the words of the self-proclaimed Christian hedonist, John Piper, then they have probably read that “the chief end of man is to glorify God by enjoying Him forever.” I would couple this statement with a verse like Psalm 34:8 ,”Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good!” I wholeheartedly believe that we are commanded to enjoy our interaction with God. We have access to the God of the entire universe, the God of the heavens and the earth!! Why wouldn’t we burn in our hearts to know Him more, to enjoy Him and in that give Him the glory and honor that He deserves. We then ought to use the vehicle of music to glorify God by enjoying Him. It’s clear to me that human beings are moved by music. I think all of us have a song that we listen to for any given situation. When we’re happy we listen to a certain song, when we’re sad we have another song that we always put on, so on and so forth. The human spirit is affected by music and I would argue that is because God desires to use music as an ‘instrument’ (haha) with which to bring Him glory and to bring us joy. I know plenty of God-fearing Christians that absolutely love singing. Even Christians who aren’t musically gifted but who are pursuing God are compelled to sing to Him. When considering the great lengths that persecuted Christians go through to be able to sing to God and fellowship together, we must see the value and the glory of God in music. “And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
“And adoration leaves no room for pride,”:
Upon viewing the glory of God the observer is directly moved to awe, wonder, humility, adoration, etc. When God’s people meditate on His attributes there is no longer any way they can be prideful or puffed up. God is so awesome that seeing Him doesn’t leave room for us to see ourselves. An act of worship to God is characterized by receiving God and denying self. These two things go hand-in-hand and can’t be separated with reference to the worship, praise, and adoration of God. In instances of worship where wretchedness is recognized and confession is made, the holiness and grace of God are magnified. When the sacrifice of praise is made, the beauty and majesty of God are exalted as they ought to be. Yet in both of these situations, the focus is on Him who is worshipped, not he who is worshipping. How could a human think of themself when fixated on God? We can only see ourselves in the reflection of God, which requires that we look to Him!
“It is as the whole creation cried: Alleluia…”:
When we worship God we join in with creation in magnifying His invisible attributes. Many of us I’m sure are familiar with Romans 1:20, “For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made.” The galaxies, stars, planets, rivers, mountains, and every created thing cries out that He is holy and mighty. When we join in this we place ourselves in the middle of a song that is constantly being proclaimed to the glory of God. On top of this, our eternity will be rooted in the worship of God as we enter into His full presence and glory. What a day that will be! There’s a song from Michael Gungor Band called ‘Ancient Skies’ that goes:
Now we stand amazed
And now we sing a word they sang in ancient days
A single word that’s overflowing endless praise:
Let’s overflow endless praise to our God and King who is completely wise, powerful, and worthy! Blessings to all of you my brothers and sisters as you magnify God with your lives!