One of the things of creation that astounds me more than anything is music. I find it incredible how different types of sound are so aesthetically pleasing and moving. On a physical level, it is only the air molecules being disturbed by a force moving them in a certain pattern (or wavelength). At the same time, this moving of air influences people to get up and dance, to cry, to laugh, and to sit completely in awed silence. 

I’m an amateur musician. I play several different instruments. Being bent towards theology as well, I’ve wondered what it is about music that makes people gather around a regular guy like me to hear me play one of my instruments or to listen to the band when they play worship music. Heck, why do we have worship music anyway? 

I think C.S. Lewis did a great job in explaining this in his sermon “The Weight of Glory.” He basically argued that such things like music, art, etc. contained a tiny glimpse of heaven itself. The incredible moment in the point of the song that makes the heart leap for joy is the glimpse of what forever will be for those who are of the kingdom of heaven when it finally arrives in full splendor. Music is wonderful because it communicates to our emotions in a way that no other art form can. It also helps us to worship God in a way that reflects His glory while glorifying Him at the same time. 

I also think that because music is so powerful that it can be used for very evil purposes. Quite frankly, it can be used to manipulate people into doing things that are wrong. I’ve also seen music used in manipulative tactics by New Agers in chat rooms that employ sound an microphone. I remember going in and a message was being played where a man was saying all kinds of illogical nonsense about how people are god and that resisting this type of thought was wrong. He said these things in a very friendly voice. What I noticed more than anything was the music being played in the background to his voice. It was the same thing over and over and over. Every thirty seconds it would begin again. I had to mentally fight it and I realized that it was actually a type of brainwashing. What it was doing was trying to bypass rational thought through manipulation with music.

To those of us who are musicians, I think we need to be careful with our own music and how we use it. I think it’s best to remember this verse: “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31). I think that God is well pleased with music that glorifies Him. I also think this can include music that is deemed “secular.” I have heard that J.S. Bach would always write “to the glory of God” on his musical notation, including his secular works. If that is the case, I think he ultimately had the right idea.