August 19, 2009
I love Jerry Flasschoen! He is a brother-in-Christ and fellow worship leader to our Trinity Church family. His faith encourages my faith. I look forward to every interaction with Jerry in the same way that I look forward to Sunday dinner, knowing that I will walk away edified, savoring the sweet food and fellowship and desiring better things as a result. Last week he sent me these thoughts in an email. I post them here for you to enjoy. Let’s celebrate the treasure we have in the songs of our faith, and in the songwriters who are edifying the Church by writing them!
By Jerry Flasshoen, August 13, 2009
Thursday at about 6:00 a.m., I was sitting in my car at work and praying. The words of “Nothing but the Blood” and “There is a Fountain Filled with Blood” came to mind. I was really blessed by the Spirit as I meditated on the words. I began to wonder why these songs and their melodies meant so much to me. As I prayed about it here are some thoughts that came to mind.
I think one of the things that sets Christian music apart from other music is the focus on the glory of God. So many of the older hymns speak of God’s character that it fills my heart with a deep sense of who God is. Which relates to another thought. Jesus said that we would know the truth and it would set us free. Christian music takes the deep truths of God’s Word and the Spirit uses the truth to minister hope, forgiveness, comfort, joy, and peace. I think that’s what sets Christian music apart from any other music. Christian music seeks to glorify the Lord while communicating theological truth. When the Spirit uses these aspects with the melody, it becomes a very powerful and worshipful experience that deepens our walk with God.
Another thought is that the writers of the songs applied the Word and the truth to their lives. As they did so, it became a living testimony recorded in music and lyrics and woven into the very fabric of their walk with God. As they maintained their relationship with God, they could write about their experiences, whether of joy or deep trial. As they wrestled with and reminded themselves of these truths, their souls were filled with the awesomeness and personal blessing of the Lord Jesus. These lyrics then became their testimony of these truths as they lived life. These are truths and experiences we all can relate to and identify with. This is not to say that those who don’t know Christ cannot write beautiful music. But their music seems to glorify either themselves or something else. While it may sound nice, it still seems hollow and empty, as if something is missing. “…when the best bliss this earth imparts, we turn unfilled to Thee again.”
In sum, when we walk with the Lord and His word becomes living in our lives, the Spirit causes these truths to be etched in our lives. Our walk with God then takes on a depth that the Lord can use to minister to others going through the same experiences. Our lives become testimonies of God’s grace, which He uses in song to glorify Himself. This is what makes worship so meaningful…acknowledging the Lordship of Christ and the truth of His word and rinsing our hearts and minds in the truth of who he is.
One final thought that came to mind about Christian music. There is an eternal aspect to it because of the eternality of Christ. The truths written and sung are eternal in nature and do not change. I believe many of the hymns both older and modern will go with us into eternity. It is this eternal aspect to which our souls can relate. These are not new thoughts but just some convictions the Lord has been building into my life lately.