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Significance of Music in Christianity

Hilary is a sophomore at the University of Georgia. She is majoring in Pharmaceutical Sciences and has succeeded in chemistry courses.

Music has been an integral part of Christianity since Biblical times. Throughout history, the emotional power of music has been used to proclaim the gospel and give thanks to God, stirring up people's spirits beyond the range of rational thought. Music is so important that the largest book in the Bible, Psalms, is made up entirely of songs and hymn-prayers to God. However, this raises the question: Why is music so important for Christians?

A cross lying on sheet music

A cross lying on sheet music

1) Music is a form of praise and worship.

There is no better way to praise our Lord than through music, especially as God is so great and glorious that even the rocks themselves will cry out in praise (Luke 19:40). Though stones are normally mute, God is God...he'll manage.

Anyway, glorifying our Creator is one of the most important aspects of Christianity, especially as we were created for the sole purpose of worshiping him (Isaiah 43:21 ...(my chosen people), the people whom I formed for myself that they may declare my praise).

However, why is praising God so essential? For one, we devote ourselves to Him because of His unconditional love. According to 1 John 4:19, we love because He first loved us. He even sacrificed his only son to save his demanding, irritating people from toasting in Hell forever.

Our duty is to honor Him by loving God and those around us, treating them with respect and kindness. Paul himself even calls us in Ephesians 5:19 to address each other in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with all of our heart.

In fact, we do not glorify God because we choose to. We worship Him because He is deserving of our praise as the Creator of all things. As the omnipotent and omnipresent King of Kings, Lord of Lords, and holder of countless other accolades, God is so awesome that he evokes song and worship from all of his (non-rebellious) creations, even those that are normally mute and not sentient.

A sheep on an altar ready to be sacrificed

A sheep on an altar ready to be sacrificed

2) Music is a sacrifice

In the Old Testament, the blood of animals and incense were customarily used as sacrifices for the cost of sin. However, the Bible indicates that music has a sacrificial property as well. We can offer our voices to acknowledge Him and please Him.

Hebrews 13:15 states, "Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name." Rather than delivering a life, we offer the sweet fruit of song to delight and honor Him.

In fact, God is the most satisfied when we worship Him through melodies, as shown in Psalm 69:30-31: I will praise the name of God with song and magnify Him with thanksgiving. And it will please the Lord better than an ox or a young bull with horns and hoofs.

This verse indicates that to God, our music and worship are worth more to Him than an animal sacrifice. A modest rendition of Amazing Grace is a much simpler offering than shoving a cow carcass into your fireplace.

For those of us that serve in the church music programs, music is also a sacrifice of our time and energy. Choir and orchestra members spend hours practicing in rehearsals, trying to get every note right. However,the exhilaration from a successful performance during worship is well worth the effort.

A pair of hands reaching up to the cross

A pair of hands reaching up to the cross

3) Music evokes strong, mood-altering emotions

A sound more powerful than the spoken word, music can arouse tranquil emotions in both the listeners and the creators. This can ready our hearts and souls to receive the word of God and surrender to him.

By "surrender," I do not mean for you to flail a white flag at the sky. Ever heard the phrase, "Jesus take the wheel"? Surrendering yourself to God means that you give Him the wheel in all aspects of your life.

By submitting to His will, you are letting Him take control and trusting that he will do what is best for you, even if the situation seems bleak. According to Jeremiah 29:11, the Lord has plans for each and every one of us, a plan for a future and hope.

Music can also be used to soothe us and create an atmosphere to receive the Holy Spirit. In 1 Samuel 16:18-23, King Saul was plagued by a distressing spirit, causing severe emotional difficulties. His discomfort was only relieved through music. Whenever David played the harp, the spirit would depart from Saul, and he would be refreshed and well again.

A similar effect is observed during worship in church. After the congregation sings their hims, there is a tangible aura of peace and calm around the crowd, preparing them to receive God's word.

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