I love Christmas music. I start listening to it sometime early fall (don’t shoot me!).
But I also love Easter music. And I feel like it doesn’t get the attention it deserves. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but when it comes to New Testament emphasis, the resurrection of Jesus Christ seems to be WAY more important. Our music should reflect that.
Maybe one reason it doesn’t is because there are far more “contemporary” resurrection music than Christmas. Maybe we can’t emphasize it in our worship services because so many of the songs are embroiled in controversy.
Brothers, these things ought not be.
A Ridiculous Controversy
Imagine my wife and mother are planning a birthday party for me (hint, hint, it’s coming up in a month, Mom and Carissa!). But all along the way while they plan it, they keep arguing over what they should do at the party. They can’t agree on the type of cake – “I like carrot cake,” says Mom. “But I like red velvet!” argues my wife. They can’t agree on the color of the balloons.
“I like blue!” “No, green!”
How ridiculous! If I found out about it. I’d be a little peeved. No offense, but who cares which color they prefer. It doesn’t matter what type of cake they personally enjoy. It’s MY party – they should pick colors and cake that I would like (FYI, I like green and red velvet)!
Similarly, it’s ridiculous that we are celebrating the RESURRECTION OF THE LORD JESUS, and yet arguing over what tempo the music is! We’re celebrating the day Christ conquered sin and death once for all – and yet we can’t agree on whether we should use organ or guitar.
Generation vs. generation. Pew vs. pew. Church vs. church. Culture vs. culture.
No offense, but WHO CARES what kind of tempo or music style or instrument YOU prefer. This is the Sunday of the year we focus on Jesus our Savior (who, by the way, DIED FOR US!). It doesn’t matter our preferences! All that matters is what HE cares about. We’re worshiping HIM after all. But too often all we end up doing is worshiping ourselves and our preferences.
By the way, I’m pointing the finger at both sides. And I’m pointing the finger at myself!
This past week, at my university we had a singspiration focused around Easter. I found myself standing there singing…nit-picking the song selection! Oh, I don’t know this song. Oh, this song is old. Oh, I like this song normally but the style is not what I like. On and on my thoughts ran.
I felt convicted. Here I had tried to piously look like I was celebrating the resurrection of Christ, but in my heart I was judging. That’s not worship. At least not worship of God. It’s worship of self!
Resurrection over Preferences
That service was a combination of new songs and old. And that’s probably what my church will have tomorrow. Some I will really like. Others won’t be my “jam.”
But who cares! Maybe your church sings too many “contemporary,” modern songs for your taste. Maybe your church is stuck on the organ and hymnbook.
I have one request for you and myself. Don’t focus on your preferences tomorrow in the service. Focus on the Savior.
Let’s make Easter Sunday a day of ceasefire for our worship wars.
A Beautiful Harmony
On Facebook, someone posted this: “Give a *single line* of a hymn that encapsulates what Christ accomplished on the cross. Go.”
The comments were beautiful.
Old songs with timeless truths – “No condemnation now I dread – Jesus and all in Him is mine!” “When I survey the wondrous cross…” “Jesus paid it all!” “At the cross where I first saw the light…”
New songs mixed in: “No guilt in life, no fear in death.” “Death has died. Love has won – hallelujah!” “Once Your enemy, now seated at Your table, Jesus thank You!” “Love has won. Death has lost!”
Young people. Old people. Boomers. Millennials. Fundamentalists. Hipsters.
All of these people coming together to share their favorite line encapsulating the redemption.
That’s how Easter should be! Not a day for bickering in heart or around the dinner table about a song chosen. Not a day to confront your music pastor about the volume.
This day is not about us. It’s about Him. So long as the songs properly and reverently worship the risen King, let us sing with all our might! Wherever in the world we may be…
Our brothers and sisters in Africa will gather in small village churches and beat on drums as they dance and sing to the resurrected Jesus.
Our brothers and sisters in the Middle East will gather in small rooms, fearful for their lives and yet still exuberantly singing with what instruments they can find.
Our brothers and sisters in the South will be singing with Southern drawl, “Because He lives, I can face tomorrow!”
Our brothers and sisters in inner-city churches will burst forth with, “Hallelujah for the Cross!”
Our brothers and sisters in rural Ohio will be all smiles as they sing, “Up from the grave He arose!”
And all of it will be sweet in the ears of our Savior, who is risen and ascended and seated at the right hand of God!
Let’s join with the Apostle Paul, who had to confront his own “worship war” in Corinth in 1 Corinthians 14. But notice how the topic suddenly shifts in chapter 15 to something Paul can’t help but write about – the resurrection of Christ. And notice how he ends – with what seems to be a song! A song that he and all the Corinthian believers – even with all their problems and misuse of tongues and spiritual gifts – a unified song they could all sign together two thousand years ago…
“Death is swallowed up in victory.”
“O death, where is your victory?
O death, where is your sting?”
Let’s join that ancient song. And at least for a day, let’s have a worship war ceasefire.