Scripture: Philippians 4:8
Through the ages there have been many issues that have spurned debate and encouraged factions in the christian church. For today's post, I submit Halloween and music. There's not a connection necessarily, but Halloween because it is today and music because it's been on my mind lately. There are probably myriad of verses better suited for addressing these topics, but I like the breadth of this one verse. It's focused. And, it's a list so I can do a mental check if I need to whenever discussing Halloween or church music or anything else.
My Hubby and I discussed this beguiling holiday after taking Little E to a pumpkin patch and bought her a costume to wear for the day. Neither of us is particularly fond of the holiday, but we do like the celebration of harvest - hayrides, pumpkin patches, apple cider, roasting marshmallows, sunflowers and anything else along those lines. We're not keen on witches and goblins and scaring ourselves until we pee our pants. I remember attending a haunted house when I was younger. I got ten steps in, turned around and walked out. For me, it wasn't worth a week of no sleep and fodder in the back of my brain for any future night that my imagination wanted to play tricks on me in the dead of the night. So, I skipped it for sleep and haven't regretted it since. We choose to focus on what is good and pure and lovely about the holiday and not the part that celebrates the dark, mysterious and sinister.
Speaking of shrieking....ok, there's really no segue into church music so here we are. This issue continues to divide and distort churches. I thought I was fairly open until we started visiting churches (ironically after the church we were attending went through a leadership crisis rumored to be started by music disagreements). The church we liked and would eventually join had a modern worship service complete with loud and unfamiliar songs. The high-pitched guitars and oh-oh-oh music singing was not my taste. I was okay with drums and guitars but this was a bit much in my humble opinion. It took me a while to see the hypocrisy in that. The truth is that I do like traditional hymns - but not all of them. While attending church with my in-laws we started singing a hymn about being the Lily of the Valley, and I thought "Huh, I don't particularly like this hymn. The words don't mean anything to me and the notes are so far off the bars I'm not sure they'll ever land." This was followed quickly by "Oh, so I don't like ALL hymns. Just like I don't like ALL contemporary music. But I do like some of each - and more and more as we continue attending our jamming church."
Maybe, just maybe, it's not about me. When a song comes up that I don't like or the guitar-wailing-drum-pounding is giving me a headache, I don't sing along but I do consider the words and offer them as a time of worship. Likewise when I'm singing a traditional hymn - or trying to sing given that the notes are frequently way out of my range - I consider the words or I say a prayer for those who are singing. It is a time of worship. Of focusing my energy and attention on I AM. Not what is or is not acceptable music. He hears the joyful noise and is glad. Think about what is true, what is good, and what is praiseworthy.