(Addressed to Christians!)
There’s a big hue and cry among some christians in FB, over my plain comments about a christian song that was tagged to me. Many rejoinders cursed, abused and demeaned me, putting their own christian values to test. Yet, this is not a riposte but delineation of ‘why I said what I said’.
One Ms Sharon Gladstone had questioned my knowledge in music and Tamil which, I shamelessly admit, is very frugal. Incidentally, my comment had only substantiated my present admission. Reading further will tell you how.
‘Christhava Keerthanaigal’ is a treasure for traditional churches, where I grew up ever since my birth. Being part of the choir, could sing most Hymns and Lyrics by heart. Until I remained just a chorister, they were just lyrics to me. But when I was redeemed and became a worshipper, they seemed words with life. A new perspective dawned when every word that I sang and heard meant so much to me, something which I had never experienced.
After 17 years of a roller-coaster christian life, God opened the eyes of my heart to certain things, what I ought and ought not do as a musician, which I have started sharing with the next generation in the form of ‘Christian Music Workshop’.
What I once did as a commercial work, charging money, today I do it free of cost. Any aspect of my gospel music contribution today viz. composing, orchestrating, singing, recording etc, I charge no more. I got it free and I give it free.
I moved out of songs like “Sathai nishkalamai”, “Seer thiriyega vasthe”, “Arumarundhoru sarguru marundhu” which don’t edify me personally nor would they, an unbeliever. I would rather choose “Magizhvom magizhvom”, “Enakkaai jeevan vittavare”, “Yendha kaalathilum yendha nerathilum”.
Every time a song with God’s name/word is sung, it has to serve one of the three purposes of Christian Music (Praise God, Uplift church, Preach gospel), without which it would be just a musical piece.
Several older generation people confide in me that they have never attempted to decipher the meaning of so many “Keerthanais” which they have been singing for generations. That’s the perilous nature of classical compositions (based in carnatic style and flowery language). They’ll be enticing to our intellect, nice to our ears and soothing to our feelings. If music and poetry can, by itself, do these to us, why need God? The moment our hearts lean towards music, when music takes precedence, God factor becomes redundant. God can’t have a second place. Can He?
Unless we praise and worship God with all our heart and soul and mind and strength, as his commandment promulgates, our musical offering would be unacceptable to God. To accomplish this, every word that we sing and hear should emanate from our lives; lives of success, submission, suffering etc. It should relate to our personal faith. Each one in the church should understand each word of a song, over which a Christian song is built, and not on music as it is generally perceived.
What God taught us how to pray can come in handy here. He said, “And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words.” (Mathew 6:7) God delights in our humble and simple supplications and not in pompous and flamboyant ones.
It’s not music that can kindle us, but the living, double-edged, judging Word of God that must. A christian song is not a creative composition but a confessional communication between the believer and God the father. Christian music is about Words! Words! and Words! Without words there’s no christian music.
These days all movies and TV shows come with sub-titles. Though we can broadly understand the story and content of any such fiction without even knowing the respective languages, the producers are keen that their audiences don’t miss out on any word of their work. When words are given such importance in these entertainments, how much more should we, as worshippers of the Word God, revere them in our prayer and meditation and offerings!
In our personal and private meditations we are free to do anything that our hearts desire. But today, in the technologically connected world, the scenario is tricky. Even without our consent or choice, every assembly, fellowship, worship, gathering etc gets posted on social sites, where huge challenges lie. None of us would know who is destined to watch or hear them. We got to be christianly responsible for every word and action in these media shares. Hearts with several needs might be touched through these.
Let’s sing appropriate, meaningful, comprehensible songs in all our fellowships. Let’s not try to show our skills and abilities but only project God with the words given to us. Do not appreciate any christian musician or any christian song as they are not made to showcase us but glorify God. One has to be benefitted by a christian song and not entertained. Next time you want to tell someone, say “That song was useful to me.”
Let’s not try to publish christian songs to promote ourselves and test our GOD WHO WILL NEVER SHARE HIS GLORY!