Quote of the Day: CS Lewis on Church Music


As an active participant in the music ministry at Harmony Church, it makes sense to every now and then consider what you are actually doing. This urge became all the more prevalent when I came across some guidelines for music in church of one of the local churches. Here in Christchurch. At the same time I saw it as a good opportunity to actually dig a bit deeper in the subject matter of music and Christianity and some of my findings and thoughts will be posted here in other posts to come.

In the past days, fed by several disturbing documents on what is and what is not to be considered “good” Christian music; whom are we to judge in any event, (I found this quote from C.S. Lewis. The intention and not what some make out to be the Biblical Guidelines (see f.i. the Dial the Truth Ministries).

This quote by C.S. Lewis however said more than all the long tracts together.

source photo: http://www.covenanteyes.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2009/04/cs-lewis.jpg

It seems to me that we must define rather carefully the way, or ways, in which music can glorify God. There is … a sense in which all natural agents, even inanimate ones, glorify God continually by revealing the powers He has given them. And in that sense we, as natural agents, do the same. On that level our wicked actions, in so far as they exhibit our skill and strength, may be said to glorify Good, as well as our good actions. An excellently performed piece of music, as natural operation which reveals in a very high degree the peculiar powers given to man, will thus always glorify God whatever the intention of the performers may be. But that is a kind of glorifying which we share with the ‘dragons and great deeps’, with the ‘frost and snows’. What is looked for in us, as men, is another kind of glorifying, which depends on intention. How easy or how hard it may be for a whole choir to preserve that intention through all the discussions and decisions, all the corrections and the disappointments, all the temptations to pride, rivalry and ambition, which precede the performance of a great work, I (naturally) do not know. But it is on the intention that all depends. When it succeeds, I think the performers are the most enviable of men; privileged while mortals to honor God like angels and, for a few golden moments, to see spirit and flesh, delight and labour, skill and worship, the natural and the supernatural, all fused into that unity they would have had before the Fall.

If this is a subject that interests you, or the Contemporary Christian Music “Debate” than come back for more posts on the very subject matter.

In the meantime I will do what I always did, knowing that my intentions as well as all those of all the other musos at Harmony are good. Looking forward to see you there Sunday 10 am.

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