Thanks to Jeremie Begbie in his book “Resounding Truth: Christian Wisdom in the World of Music” for revealing this to me:
– Psalm 137:4 KJV
He relates the verse to the power of music that empowers émigré communities to overcome cultural repression by holding their musical heritage close. While undoubtedly true (spirituals amidst slavery, national anthems amidst apartheid), I read it as a more general cry of longing for christians to return home. The reason music is so frequently debated in church communities is in (hopefully) honest pursuit of the answer to this question. How shall we sing? With gregorian chant? Hymnody? Christian rock? Is Rick Warren right when saying “God loves all kinds of music because he invented it all…if it is offered to God in spirit and truth, it is an act of worship.”
Begbie believes that Warren’s perspective implies that if all worship-full music is embedded with God-given integrity, it renders depth, quality (and I’ll add to that list, beauty) irrelevant to worship. I hope not!