By nature all instruments must be tuned to the same frequency, otherwise they are in essence out of tune - because tuning is relative. If one set of instruments tune to a certain pitch and another set of instruments tune to a different pitch, then when they play together, although each having been 'tuned', they will collectively be 'out of tune'.
Tuning instruments is essential to the creation of music. In the same way, I believe Christian musicians need to be 'tuned in' to the Spirit and the voice of God to make art that directs the Church to worship Him. We as the Church are one body with many different parts, but we have to be moving forward in the same direction to achieve the common goal. Each different part has to be in tune with each other, and the key to that is not to chase individual objectives but all tuning to the same Note, a single frequency from which we all draw our unique pitch from.
As I read the Old Testament, I see how God used artists to express his majesty on earth, to create beauty that echoes His greatness and splendour. I see how the musicians were the ones who lead the armies into battle; there were musicians in the holy temple, in the royal palace, and in recorded forms of intimate, personal worship to God. Music is clearly such a powerful thing, and when used as worship to God it has the potential to change things in the spiritual realm and in the natural. So the composition of worship music is surely a privilege, a huge honour bestowed upon an individual to lead others in a heavenly song of praise to the eternal King.
With that in mind, I think we as artists and composers need to take it very seriously the gifts that God has given us. We need to know the battles we fight aren't just flesh and blood, and just as the musicians used to lead the army into physical warfare, so now with spiritual warfare.
The songs we write aren't just nice words and catchy melodies, but they are powerful statements of truth, rhythms of inspiration that even the angels are moved by and marvel at. Our gifts are not to be compared competitively amongst each other, but to be shared; a light is not meant to be covered but to be held out in the open for all to benefit from. There is no church that makes the perfect worship music and one's effectiveness should never be measured by commercial success, but each individual style and unique sound should complement each other as we each play our part in singing the greater song of salvation from earth to heaven.
One must also note that instruments need to be retuned regularly; I note that guitarists often take a moment to retune multiple times throughout a single show. This reveals to us a profound truth: time changes things. That's the very nature of moving forward â change! Over time an instrument goes out of tune, and this is not because of misuse or even lack of use; one can be playing an instrument just as it was designed to be played, but would still need to retune after a period of time.
So then, if our songs are powerful and our voices are being heard, we must be constantly checking if we are in tune with God's current Word, with what His Spirit is saying to the Church now. When a song or revelation goes 'out of tune', it's not because it was not originally from God, but simply because God is saying a new thing to the church! As we move forward together, we need to be regularly checking ourselves in our own walk and checking God for His current direction.
It is as we tune into Him that He uses each of us to build a symphony that glorifies His name; and when He is lifted up, He will draw all men unto Himself. Maybe then we'll realise it was never our own ability or control, but all we had to do was stay in tune with Him and He would create a sound, a perfect song that would flow through us, and back to Him.
Daniel J. Mathew has finished his Bachelor of Music at Sydney's Wesley Institute and currently volunteers in Hillsong Creative, City Campus.
Daniel J. Mathew's previous articles may be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/daniel-mathew.html