A Welcome from St. Matthew’s Minister of Music John Paradowski
Celebration and Music
Can you have a time of enjoyment and celebration without music?
When people gather for a party, music fills the background. Weddings often end with dinner, dancing, and music.
Movies wouldn’t be movies without soundtracks lacing one scene to the next. Marching and pep bands arouse enthusiasm among spectators at high school and college sporting events.
Nearly like an article of clothing, headphones sprout from the heads of many a teen, and older folks, too. It seems that their enjoyment of life in general is fixed to iPod.
Hence, it’s no surprise that music also accompanies the celebration of a community’s faith in God. Remember David, whose forces had wrenched the Ark of the Covenant from the Philistine people? The Chronicler depicted the people of Israel slowly but surely winding their way to Jerusalem. The king led the way, dancing and leaping. Accompanying all this were people shouting and singing, and instrumentalists playing horns, trumpets, cymbals, harps, and lyres (1 Chronicles 15).
The Ark had been taken from its people earlier in battle — and lost. But now it had been found and would be returned to its rightful place. This was a time of great joy.
Luke 15:11-32 records another “lost and found” story, Jesus’ telling of the Parable of the Prodigal Son. When the lost son had found his way home again, his father requested that the household stop its routine duties and orchestrate a grand blowout. What else could one do? This young son, for all intents and purposes, had earlier taken a journey into the land of the dead. But he who was once dead “is alive again.” He who was once lost is “found” (vv. 24, 32).
“We had to celebrate,” the father told his older son (v. 32). When life is restored, the only natural response is to celebrate. And, of course, during this celebration, there was “music and dancing” (v. 25b).
Our Sunday worship services are a celebration as well, a celebration of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. It’s only natural that the people of God in Christ will want to sing old, familiar hymns, compose new songs, play musical instruments, chant, rehearse and gather in quartets or large choirs, and lift their voices, some in tune, and some out of tune.
Why? Because we all were once dead, but are now alive, once lost but now found. Jesus is risen, risen indeed!
Come join in the rejoicing and sing and ring out God’s praises!