I guess by now, many of you can probably tell that praising the Lord through music oftentimes inspires or incorporates its way into my blogging. One of my earlier posts was entitled “Like a Sick Cat” where I touched on my paternal Grammaw’s singing in church and being chastised by my smarty-pants little brother’s critique of it (I literally cannot wait to hear them singing in Glory together). In fact, looking back, music that praises the Lord seems to find its way into many of my posts. I subconsciously keep a song of praise going on almost all the time in my heart and mind. I believe that the Lord is pleased with our worship through song – whether we do it out loud, or in our hearts, or even when we sound like a sick cat – just so long as it is heartfelt and all about Him. I love old hymns probably the best – but newer praise songs often speak to my heart just as loudly. So, before you get bored and think that this is a post about old hymns versus new worship music – rest assured that is not a debate that I really participate in. In my opinion any music that points the glory back to our Lord and Savior makes my heart… well… sing.
This post was inspired by the Brandon High School Marching Band recently being ordered off the field for daring to include “How Great Thou Art” in their half-time performance. What inspired it even more was the response of the supporters of the BHS Band that stood up for God after that happened by breaking into the very song during the time that the band would have been performing. I saw videos of it, and even shared one on my Facebook page. It actually made me a little jealous that I wasn’t there to sing along with them. I could think of no more fitting way for the law to be followed – and for the people of God to worship Him despite the setback. I literally had chill bumps watching those few seconds of video. Our little family loves the Lord. We also enjoy football games. All the fellows in my house are athletes and love the actual sport, but this girl loves the marching bands and their shows. Band programs and participants have declined over the years but while I’m cheering on the Ole Miss Rebels, I’m really all about that half time show that’s coming up and watching their band warm up in The Grove prior to the game. I just love it. So, to hear a marching band utilize their music for praise – really stirs me up.
I guess what upsets me is this: I understand (though I don’t agree) that the Rankin County School District is under a judge’s order not to include prayer, or anything that promotes the Lord in anything they do, under the thinly veiled guise of separation of Church and State. Just like many things in our country, I believe the interpretation of our Constitution has been corrupted and perverted over time. I do not for one second believe that the founding fathers intended for us to be BANNED from any display of religion so long as others are allowed to practice theirs. I think that they meant for us to be free to practice our religion openly, proudly, and unafraid of government interference.
So, back to the song in question… First of all, the lyrics to the song, are obviously not sung by a marching band. What you are left with is just instrumental music. I do not believe that without the words, the song actually promotes religion – even though it is a well known “religious” song. I find it hard to believe that hearing the notes to that song can cause the “offense” of promoting religion by the State. I’m no shrinking violet, but the halftime shows that are broadcast for the Super Bowl each year sometimes offend me. I’ve literally sat there and been embarrassed for my country in how some of those shows promote sex and deviant lifestyles that cannot be construed by moral people as good for their children to watch – much less for them to hear them be glorified on national news the next day.
What I think the devil probably hates and therefore has worked to stop is that it DOES inspire worship in the hearts and minds of God’s people. “Then sings my soul, my Savior God to Thee!” Just that one line is making me smile as I type!
So here’s what I think. First of all, let’s stop being afraid to SING when we are moved by the Spirit. Let’s stop being afraid to PRAY when we are moved by the Spirit. In fact, let us start being more intentional about praising and worshiping our God. At this point in time, our schools, and our governments may not be able to do it – but WE, THE PEOPLE OF GOD are free. We don’t have to hide our light under a bushel basket (Matthew 5:15). We just need to start setting an example. We are set apart (1 Peter 2:9). We are not to be lovers “of this world” We are to set our minds and hearts on the things of God (Colossians 3:2). Let’s remember that, and if we are moved to sing “Amazing Grace” at football games, or pray when a player is injured on the field, or just witness to someone at work or in the grocery store, Let’s do it! Not in a way that would bring dishonor to the Lord, but in a way that points others TO HIM and makes them want to love Him too. We may be tamped down right now, but the Word of God tells us that God wins for all eternity! Praise The Lord Jesus, we do not have to be ashamed before Him!
“Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.”
“But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light;” 1 Peter 2:9
“Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.” Colossians 3:2
“Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands.
Serve the Lord with gladness: come before his presence with singing.
Know ye that the Lord he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.
For the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.” Psalm 100