How can He hear us, if I can’t?
You should understand that I believe that in this world that God created, everything that happens is part of God’s plan. Everything. The good, the bad — everything. How could it not be? The catch is we, the humans, are always able to change what is happening, to improve it or maybe to take a step back and say, “Hmm, maybe this was a mistake.” It is an enormous amount of responsibility.
Anyone who knows me knows I love Metallica. Their music demands to be performed on electric guitars and amplified drums. I think most would agree that all heavy metal should be amplified. It’s kind of the nature of the beast.
Anyone who knows me knows I also love classical music. Classical music (classical meaning ‘the best’) is written for acoustic instruments, and rightly so. Something magical happens when music is acoustic. Something so magical, that over the years many have remarked that classical music is surely the voice of God. I have always liked this metaphor if only because it highlights that music is a universal language.
I’d like to take the metaphor a bit further. If mankind was created in God’s own image, and music can have the effect of sounding like the voice of God, what about when we sing? Wouldn’t our “made in God’s image” voices actually sound closer to how God’s voice sounds? (Assuming of course, that He has a voice.)
I point this out because, again, in my recent visits to a church, I have been perplexed by the changes. There is an amplified band singing, words are displayed on the screen, no written music is anywhere to be found, and I can hardly hear anyone over the band, save the person standing next to me. (Great voice, btw.) It most certainly is not music to my ears.
Worship via music is one of the main reasons I see for going to church. I have always liked singing in a large group. I liked it as a kid at church, I liked it in the Air Force on those special occasions, and I like the idea of it now. I think singing, especially large groups of men singing, is just great. Doesn’t everyone?
I think I know what is going on. I bet that over the years, like in all other areas of life, people’s enthusiasm has been waning. Who wants other people to hear that they can’t sing a note? It does take some energy to sing, too, and we’re inherently lazy. So at first the music leader’s volume gets turned up, the thinking being that it might encourage more people to sing if they aren’t afraid of being heard. Then a band is introduced instead of a piano or organ. Now we can all pretend that we’re singing, and no one will ever know the difference. At least that’s how I see it.
As for me, I want people to sing out loud. I want to sing out loud. I want to feel the power in the music. I want to hear the voice of God. I want guests to visit and feel the inescapable love that is expressed when a group of like-minded people worship with music.
The easy answer is to find another church. Should this be about easy though? I don’t know. I just don’t know.
If I was a pastor, I’d want to hear the congregation sing. I’d use it like a thermometer. I think even the most accurate digital thermometer would tell a pastor of churches like I described above, “Meh. Lukewarm.”
But that’s just me. What do you think?