Thursday, December 24, 2009

Singing praise to false gods

Last weekend Chels and I were privileged to participate in a sing-along performance of Handel's "Messiah" oratorio held annually in Portland. This morning over breakfast we were discussing how revered this particular musical work is, even among pagans. We wondered, how is it that a pagan would voluntarily sing the words of Scripture without a second thought?

It dawned on me that we Christians do this all the time when we voluntarily use the words of our pagan culture to praise their gods. We do this when we say things like "I don't listen to the words, I just like the music." We do this when we sing Christmas carols praising the generosity of Santa and his elves. We do this when we fill our minds and sing along with pop music that glorifies materialism and loose morality. We do this when we forget that words have meaning and ideas have consequences. And we end up singing praise to the very false gods we claim to eschew in favor of the one true Messiah.

Post-modern Christians have bought into the same lie that enables the pagan to sing the Messiah without blinking: "They are just words, after all, with no objective meaning."

Every season is the appropriate time for Christians to reassert the meaning of words, and the meaning of the Word, in both our speech and actions. This season affords a special opportunity to be salt and light to the world as we remember the eternal significance of His advent as our Savior and rehearse this glorious event in hymns and carols.

Merry Christmas to you all!


Lydia vonderLuft said...

Great post! So do you think that every song needs to be clearly (blatantly) Christian to merit being listened to/sung? I'm not challenging what you're saying, just interested in your opinion. :)

Jonathan said...

Hear hear!

Jonathan and Chelsea Berkompas said...

That is a good question, Lydia. I endeavored to answer it in my most recent post...