The church congregation was jam-packed into a beautiful church. We all sat shoulder to shoulder as the song service started. A group of singers were soon joined by the organ, keyboard, guitar, drums, and a bass guitar. With each added instrument, the volume began to intensify beyond what I was used to hearing. My friend motioned toward his ears that it was getting uncomfortably loud and that he wanted to enjoy the music from outside. I decided to accompany him, and as we headed toward the exit, I noticed some of the congregation were raising their hands in the air and joining in the singing. People were celebrating God heartily as they joined in praise.
We are to be one in Christ and to work out our differences in a loving and compassionate way.
Outside the doors of the sanctuary, a family was gathered, the mother’s hands trembling as she wrapped them around the ears of her husband and son. As we made our way farther outside, we were met by another group of young people who were openly displaying disgust and disappointment about the music.
In contrast, I remember seeing a mother and her son sitting in the pews across from me who caught my attention. They displayed no outward resentment and withheld judgment. There was a presence of peace about them.
The worship leader had invited the congregation to stand to their feet. Her son stood out of respect. The mother calmly remained seated on the pew, with her head bowed, eyes closed in silent prayer. Having met her earlier, I had learned that this was not her type of music.
As a church musician, I have learned to be tolerant and nonjudgmental of other people’s choice of church music. First Peter 3:8 is a beautiful reminder that we are to be loving and like-minded. “Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous” (NKJV). Ephesians 4:3 invites us to strive for peace, “endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”
As we strive to live in harmony, our music, though diverse, should ultimately bring glory to God, as pointed out by some of my favorite quotes from one of the greatest classical music composers, J. S. Bach: “The aim and final end of all music should be none other than the glory of God and the refreshment of the soul.” “Music is an agreeable harmony for the honor of God and the permissible delights of the soul.”
We are to be one in Christ and to work out our differences in a loving and compassionate way. If we separate ourselves from the church or individuals in the church, we become separated from Christ.