Two Sounds Satan Hates
Pastor Dillon Thornton
Last Sunday night we had our inaugural Theology through the Arts event at Faith Church. Theology through the Arts is a series of hands-on workshops crafted with the creative in mind, with the goal of helping us better understand and develop the artistic capacities gifted to us by God, the premier Creator-Artist. Our first workshop explored the musical arts.
As I was preparing for the workshop, I was reminded of a letter contained in C.S. Lewis’ classic, The Screwtape Letters. Lewis maintains that Satan loves noise, but he hates the sounds of silence and singing. In silence, we study God’s Word. In singing, we celebrate it.
It seems to me that many churchgoers are indifferent toward singing. “I can hit the snooze button a few more times; no big deal if we miss the opening songs.” Others love singing, but only when they get to choose the musical style. “Those devil drums.” Both attitudes are problematic. We need a deeper understanding of music, a theology of singing. Here are the three brief thoughts I shared at our Sunday night event:
It Matters That We Sing
First, it matters that we sing. The Bible contains over 400 references to singing, and roughly 50 direct commands to sing. The longest book in the Bible, Psalms, is a songbook. Why so much singing in the Scriptures? Because singing is a way of celebrating our relationship with God. Singing stirs the stagnant heart; it awakens our affection for God. Singing is an emotional experience. This is precisely why many of us have such strong feelings about music: because music awakens strong feelings within us.
It Matters What We Sing
Second, it matters what we sing. If we’re not careful we’ll choose our music based on a certain instrument or style. In other words, we’ll make the selection about us. We must never forget that God is the One to whom we sing, and God likes a lot more music than you and I do. Lyrics should be the first thing we consider when think about which songs to sing. In Colossians 3, Paul tells us to “let the word of Christ,” the word about Christ, the gospel message, “dwell in us richly.” How do we do this? One of the ways is by “singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs.” The reason we should love many of the old hymns is not primarily because we grew up singing them, but because as we sing them the word of Christ dwells deep down in our hearts. The reason we should love many of the modern praise songs is not because they’re fashionable, but because they’re filled with the gospel message.
It Matters with Whom We Sing
Third, it matters with whom we sing. It’s important for us to gather with our brothers and sisters in Christ—as one. One of the reasons we recently transitioned to one worship service at Faith Church is because we believe our worship now should resemble (as much as possible) our worship in the new creation. The Book of Revelation gives us a glimpse of worship in the new creation, and it’s a glimpse, not of soloists, not of pockets of people singing their respective favorites: Psalm singers over here, Wesley fans over there, David Crowder followers in the corner. Revelation pictures the universal choir, the people of God from every tribe and language and people and nation, in unison praising the Lamb who was slain.
So if you’ve been sleeping in on Sundays, thinking that music is an optional add-on, then it’s time to rethink and to reset your alarm. And if you’ve been making music all about yourself, then it’s time to start celebrating the gospel and worshiping your Savior. Join us at 10:00am this Sunday. Sing with us. Celebrate what God has done for you. Rehearse for eternity. And kick Satan’s …