A few simple questions can change our perspective, and our actions for many things. . . including music. Why am I composing music? Am I composing for my own glory, or God’s?
Many composers have composed wonderful music and are famous for their talent and genius still today. The problem is that most of those famous composers did not have the right goal in music, or even in life. God definitely used them to accomplish His sovereign will, but they were not willing to submit to Him and willingly compose for Him. The result of their genius in music were compositions that were beautifully written, and whether they knew it or not, brought glory to God. However, the result of the words that come out in some music (e.g. operas) was wickedness, and could not bring glory to God. They had the wrong goal for their life (if they even had one), and a wrong goal for their music, and it resulted in sin.
Praise God for the composers that did/do believe in Him! Music is powerful, and the message either brings glory to God, or glory to man. I want to give a quick example of a very famous composer who’s particular piece I’ll be talking about renders all glory to God. It loudly proclaims the Word of God, and even in pagan countries it is still sung every year! Isn’t that amazing how God uses musicians who rebel against His commands to play a piece because of its musical genius? They don’t believe in God, but yet because of composers who did, they proclaim God’s Word through music. If you don’t know who I’m talking about yet, you’re probably trying to piece together the information I’ve given so far. Hmm… Christian composer, very famous, piece sung every year… I know!
That’s right, George Frederick Handle. His example is an amazing one! It not only shows how it affected the people when it was performed, but also how it affects us today. If you’ve ever been to a concert where they played the Hallelujah Chorus, you probably stood up when they performed it. You may know why, but I’m going to refresh your memory anyway.
It is said, that king George stood up when the Hallelujah chorus was performed, and of course if the king stood, so would you. But the reason the he stood was important. He stood in honor of the King Who’s higher than the king. That’s why we stand today; we stand in reverence to God, whether everyone knows that, I don’t know. But it is a tradition that is still being kept today, and every time someone stands on their feet when the Hallelujah chorus is performed, they are praising God with their actions.
Wow! That is an amazing story of how God has used this one piece for over two-hundred and fifty years to bring glory to Him every year. It’s said that in the 2014-2015 season alone, 13 out of 22 largest American orchestras performed the Messiah 38 times. This is only one of many examples that the power of music has.
As Johann Sebastian Bach said, “The aim and final end of all music should be none other than the glory of God and the refreshment of the soul.” That is my goal for each individual piece of music I compose, or arrange. My overall goal for composing music is to proclaim the gospel to the world, and call sinners to repentance. If God uses my music to call out His elect, then my goal has been accomplished.