Tuesday, April 17, 2012

When God sings in the Shower.

"Behold, I will create new heavens and a new earth. The former things will not be remembered, nor will they come to mind. But be glad and rejoice forever in what I will create, for I will create Jerusalem to be a delight and its people a joy."
Isa: 65:17 & 18

"No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him."
1 Cor. 2:9

Anyone who knows me knows how much I enjoy music. I've tried to learn 3 different instruments, and failed spectacularly. I can't really sing, so I limit that to the shower and the car...when no one else is around. In fact, I can't sing, play an instrument, and I can't dance. But never the less, I love music.

So I figured I would write about some musical stuff that I came across recently. I want to start with the following video. You certainly do not have to watch the whole thing. Just be sure to watch at least halfway through to see the reaction of the elderly man who isn't even remotely lucid. Observe his reaction to hearing music from his youth.

That is some very powerful stuff! This is how powerful music can be.

When you think about it for a while, it is amazing what music can do. It would also appear to be universal, regardless of place or culture. Music has the power to inspire, provoke and enliven. In my own opinion, music is one of the languages that God uses to communicate to people through.

Now, odds are that you may have seen the next video. It went semi-viral on FaceBook for a bit. You might have to suffer through some of the froo-froo bits to get to the meat, but it is worth it. Take a good look at the reaction of the crowd to this duo as they walk on stage, then wait until the 2:05 mark when that young man opens his mouth.

Again, very powerful and very beautiful! (Yeah, I'm a sucker. I tear up every time.) I just love how the most amazing beauty can come from the most unusual sources.


So anyway, when I was a kid "Christian Rock" was just kind of coming into existence. It was still considered by many to be evil because it actually had a beat that did NOT resemble a funeral dirge. The most frustrating part was that by the time I got to college, young Believers were so hungry for something with a beat that actually talked about Jesus, they would buy almost anything. In fact, the joke with my friends was that if you barfed on vinyl and then slapped a "Sparrow" or "Myrrh" label on it, it would sell. (Those were two record labels back in the day.)

One of the pioneers of Jesus Rock was a fellow named Phil Keaggy. I'm not sure if he came out of the Jesus People's movement of the late 60s & early 70s, but it was certainly around that time. Keaggy is considered one of the greatest guitarists to ever live. This means that he actually knows how to play an instrument...which is saying something considering what passed for music back at that time and even today.

BTW: It is purely a myth that Jimi Hendrix ever proclaimed Phil Keaggy to be the greatest guitarist. Sorry. Still, his ability to play is even more impressive since he lost one of his picking fingers as a kid in a well accident.

Anyhoo, Phil is one of the nicest, friendliest and funniest folks you could ever meet. He is also amazingly good at what he does, and has never ceased to amaze me in concert. He is also a huge fan of Paul McCartney and will sometimes play his tunes in concerts. This is good, because for being such a fan, Phil actually has a voice extremely similar to Paul's...minus the Liverpuddlian accent.

So I came across this interview a week or so ago. Take a listen and hear what Phil has to say about music and God. It's very interesting.

"No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him."

Could it be that heaven is full of music...the music of God? I love that idea.

I hate the idea that we are nothing more than a collection of accidental atoms in a heartless, soulless, uncaring universe, and that our reaction to beauty is nothing more than a chemical reaction derived from the happy chance of random evolution.

No. Our reaction to beauty, in this case music, is because we bear the image of God. God is a creator, and he creates all sorts of beautiful things, music included. As being image bearers, we are also endowed with the ability to create. One of the things that some (Not me, obviously) are able to create is music. Those musicians who either reject, or merely ignore or do not recognize God, still create music that stems first & foremost from the creator.

Sure, you can create all sorts of music and art that is not God-Honoring. Just look at some of the filthy stuff out there. But for that matter, a healthy chunk of what passes for "Christian" music could be said to be not exactly God-Honoring because it is so often nothing more than a mediocre fart recorded to digital. But that initial impulse comes from the creator, imparted to his created beings, which results in further creativity. And I fully believe that this is one of the ways that God testifies to himself.

Phil Keaggy has embraced this understanding of his gift in his relationship to his creator. Not only does this bring him peace, it also enhances everything his creates. He worships YHWH with the music he creates. In turn, YHWH speaks to Phil through this amazing gift.


Someday there will be a new heaven & earth. Scripture is clear that at that time, the Living God will dwell with all humanity on that earth. It is mind bending to read the various imagery that the prophets have recorded as to what this will look like. The words and imagery that the prophets use do not do justice. The words they write fail them because it is too amazing & beautiful to comprehend. The mind simply cannot comprehend it all.

I will take a leap and say that there will be amazing music in that place. King David will jam on his harp with Phil. Each will take his turn playing lead. Countless other musical types will each get their turn through out eternity. I am uncertain as to which instrument Jesus has been practicing on for all of this time, but odds are that he is fairly accomplished at this point. The tuba, perhaps. (Although that seems like something Peter would be more adept at.) Whatever, it will certainly be amazing.

Being one who can't play an instrument, I will be satisfied making popcorn for the audience. Upon completion of that task, I shall join the divine mosh pit. It will be a very amazing, a very great day.

What a day that will be.



P.S. Another pioneer from these early days was Keith Green. He died in a plane crash back in the 80s. Still, he has an amazing story to tell, and his music has held up after all of this time. I still tear up at this song.

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