It’s been several years since I was a wide eyed- and admiring- teenager who sat watching peers make wonderful music in stuffy dorm rooms. In the bipolar world of teenagerdom I was mesmerized by the wonderful freedom of singing live worship songs, and being disappointed by the similar live performance of many trendy (and relatively dodgy) secular tunes.
It was not long before I picked up my own guitar, and unconsciously swore a solemn oath that my own music would be pure and sacred; I would not allow my voice and fingers to play both divine and dirty songs. Nine years later, I have kept my secret vow, and largely refused to learn any song which was not in some obvious way related to worship; I have even refrained from writing love songs to my enduring wife!
I have joined worship teams, left bored, and now mostly lost sight of that wonderful and contagious music expression. Lately I’ve been dreaming of learning a new instrument, and maybe hoping that in so doing I will inexplicably stumble into the old simplistic pleasure now mostly abandoned in my playing. That was, until a recent night…
We were approaching a typical hip and vibey venue where some live music was drumming away slightly too loudly in the background. From a distance the music reminded me of the countless worship tunes I’ve heard over the years, yet close-up there was nothing overtly sacred about the lyrics. However, what kept me glancing back throughout the evening was the very visible delight of the musician as he sang and played his heart out. Inside, my own heart was thrumming and whisking over the strings along to the beat. I left knowing that my heart was not dead, but in a sense my thinking was.
The simple choice I made as a teenager between heaven and earth was very good for me. In the unstable and hormonal state I had been, this underlying choice was a constant anchor towards purity and the love of God. Now, several years later, this choice had choked up my ability to make passionate music in Jesus! This old thought, like a time capsule, was preserved in my private attitude, until now. Looking back now, I can see a very narrow view of holiness. Holiness which only relates to the heavenly, but not at all to the holistic new creation.
Over the years I’ve learned that God want to live in every aspect of my life, if I am also willing to die there in preparation and welcoming of his presence. I’ve seen that God desires me to be holy, a new creation with holy eating and working and talking and thinking and loving, and this may be reflected in my music also. I have freedom, no, even empowering in the Holy Spirit to now write sacred love songs to my wife.
The Finch – 20 June 2012