Standing up, I stare up at the screen flowing with beautiful scenery and words streaming across in big, bold, black letters. Looking around I see scattered people all standing, a few with their hands up, most singing along, some just staring at the screen along with everyone else. I hear my husband’s deep voice next to me and my own voice following along to the rhythm of the song. I stare at the words again, wondering how many of them we really mean or if we are all just caught up in the moment and the emotion out of habit like we do every Sunday?
Lost in a large crowd of people. Not recognizing a single person around me. Everyone staring at the huge screens looming above us or at the band jamming out up on stage, seeing how close we can get. The same thoughts come over me. Why are we really here? Is it just for a fun show? Is it for bragging rights, saying we saw this famous artist perform live? Is it just because it was free and something fun to do during the summer? Are we idolizing and worshiping these “famous” people more than we are the God they are singing about?
Back up in the crowd again after an almost-storm-encounter. Listening to the band that I was most excited about seeing for the entire weekend. I look around again at the people surrounding me. I see tears in the eyes of many as they struggle with their own inner hurts and wars. I see hands raised throughout the whole crowd as people are swept away with the song.
I smile as a memory of a conversation I had with my dad, so long ago, runs through my mind, about why some songs are so popular and how the cords put together in such a way seem to draw you in. What makes music so captivating? Why are some songs so good and others bad?
Music has the ability to send life and excitement flooding through our veins in such a way that we feel like we could dance forever. It has the ability to bring us to tears both from overwhelming grief and indescribable happiness. Music can strike a chord within the core of our being so we feel like we may explode inside with all the vivacious passion that is surging through.
One thing that I love about Casting Crowns is how they don’t just put on a dazzling “look at me” show, but they use their platform to turn your eyes towards heaven and towards Christ. It is so easy to turn our eyes inward and want all the glory for ourselves, but it takes humility to say it’s not about me, it’s all about Christ, and even more so to act it out. Though I wish Casting Crowns concert could have gone longer, instead of being cut short by the storm, I thought it was really neat how they ended by disappearing into the background letting the crowd continue to worship and sing their song, as if to say “You don’t need us, we’re just a vessel to help point you to Christ and now that we’ve done that, it’s your turn to keep the flame going and to carry on.”
Music, singing and worshiping God are woven strongly throughout the whole Bible. I think about the time after the wall was rebuilt around Jerusalem in Nehemiah 12:27-43. Ezra and Nehemiah, for the dedication “service,” had two big choirs walk in opposite directions singing joyfully and playing music. “And on that day they offered great sacrifices, rejoicing because God had given them great joy. The women and children also rejoiced. The sound of rejoicing in Jerusalem could be heard far away.” Nehemiah 12:43 What it must have been like to be among the crowds that day! To feel your heart fluttering with joy at the sound of people worshiping and praising God for what He had done. To be swept away in the moment, remembering who God was and basking in the security that everything was going to be alright, as the music kept getting louder and louder as more and more people joined in.
Music can be such a dividing and conflicting area among people ( especially churches). And if you think about it, in the sense of music being a way to express emotions in a very vivid personal way, then of course there is going to be disagreements over it because we are each so unique and express ourselves in so many different ways. But music isn’t just about ourselves and expressing our own emotions. It’s an overflow of the heart and a call to worship the creator of the universe in a way that can also bring so many people together. It has the ability to wrap up hearts and turn a whole crowd of strangers into one gigantic family all moving the same way, preparing the heart to worship and acknowledge God—who is worthy of our praise.
So this week, like the psalmist says in Psalm 98:4-9, “Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth, burst into jubilant song with music; make music to the LORD with the harp, with the harp and the sound of singing, with trumpets and the blast of the ram’s horn—shout for joy before the LORD, the King. Let the sea resound, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it. Let the rivers clap their hands, let the mountains sing together for joy; let them sing before the LORD, for he comes to judge the earth. He will judge the world in righteousness and the people with equity.”
May we, with a true heart, sing praises to our LORD and King. Praising Him for who He is and what He has done and will do!
Melody, a proud mother of three beautiful, adventurous children and the wife of one very loving and caring husband. Molded, daily, by the Maker of the Universe and longing to become more like Him.