Psalm 98

It occurred to me during the middle of one of our services a couple of weeks ago as Joe was making his guitar sing that a guitar solo might be considered offensive in church. The thought may have whizzed through my mind at other points during my life, but I never gave it much credence. I’m prone to taking almost any argument in an “ad absurdum” type of way (much to Jaime’s chagrin) and I long for consistency. So, it got me thinking. Is a guitar solo irreverent? If so, how so? We have instrumental breaks in music regularly. Is it because one instrument is standing out beyond the rest? Surely we have the makings for quite a terrible symphony if the first chair violin is never to be heard above the last chair oboe. No offense to any oboe players out there! I’m just wondering if there is something to the notion that a guitar solo could be irreverent. 

Psalm 33:4 of the ESV says, “Sing to Him a new song, play skillfully on the strings with loud shouts.” I like the King James Version even better, “Sing unto Him a new song, play skillfully with a loud noise.” It would seem according to those verses that the sound guy should turn the electric up in the mix and the only thing sinful would be refuse to sing the new song with the congregation!

The church in times past has commissioned some of the greatest pieces of music ever written, but even then, we were not without controversies. Bach wrote music with counterpoint, the practice of employing two musical lines running in opposite directions from one another. Similarly, the tritone interval, which is the base for a diminished chord and gives the Dominant 7 chord its characteristic bite, was considered demonic for centuries. Both of these things are accepted and even lauded today.

What I’m getting at is that God gave Joe his musical gifts, and I’m sure that him playing his instrument to bless God’s people with music that makes our hearts cry out in praise to our God and King makes Him look down and smile. Even if it may seem edgy or not to our preference, please don’t let skilled playing steal your affections for our Lord.

"Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all the earth: make a LOUD noise, and rejoice, and sing praise,” Psalm 98:4. That tells me all I need to know. Turn it up!

– Andy