For more than 20 years, the sounds of music have echoed off the walls of my home. All four of my children began playing piano at young ages, and they began to sing as soon as they could make sounds. Ma-ma-ma had its own sweet melody.
I didn’t have to be in the room to know who was at the piano. I knew by the music. Certainly, I could tell by selection—my youngest daughter preferred Beethoven and jazz, while my oldest preferred Mozart and worship. My son picked up the latest pop song he heard on the radio. And my special needs daughter played, over and over, halting notes from nursery rhymes. But even if two children were practicing the same composition for an upcoming recital, I could tell who it was by the way they played that particular piece. They each had their own touch—their unique gift of music.
I thought of the music in my home as I read Dr. Henry Morris III’s feature article this month about music in the church (“Sounds of Music, Words of Truth,” pages 5-7). He says, “Every instrument has a sound, a ‘breath,’ that can praise the Lord….Those sounds can bring tears of joy or sadness. They can thrill our hearts or chill our souls. The sounds of music, rightly played, sync our hearts, our minds, our souls, and our bodies in a single purpose.” How many times have we entered church distracted by the cares of the world only to have the worship music calm our minds and hearts so we could focus on the message God provided that day? Dr. Morris also reminds us how worship music can prepare us to hear a message from God’s Word: “Godly music sets the stage and prepares the heart for the clear instruction of the Word of God.”
My oldest daughter now plays the piano and sings as part of a church worship team, and I love to visit her church. Those who use their gifts in music to lead people in worship—whether it’s a choir, praise team, orchestra, organist, or pianist—minister to hearts in a special way. The balance of worshipful music and a message centered on the Word of God refreshes the soul and prepares believers to learn and grow.
I must admit, when my children sat down at the piano in those beginning days, I sometimes slipped into another room and shut the door because the banging sounds and missed notes rattled me a bit. But as their skills grew and they were better able to express their piano and vocal gifts with gracefulness, the music became a balm on hectic days. On many occasions, I settled on the couch next to them, closed my eyes, and welcomed the sweet sounds of music.
Music in the church can serve a similar purpose, soothing our souls, giving us rest, and, as Dr. Morris points out, drawing us to the Word of God. God uses both words of truth and awe-inspiring music to prepare the hearts of believers to persevere in faith and ministry.
* Jayme Durant is the Executive Editor at the Institute for Creation Research.