Music and the Holy Spirit

Heaven operates in the fullness of all things to which the good of creation testifies, including good music. But music is more than an accent decor to the halls of eternity. It is within the very nature of the Spirit who brooded over creation in the first place. The Holy Spirit–that is, the Spirit of God–is not an abstract, but a passion, a consuming fire whose flame is named love. When He speaks, it is in harmony with Himself. And when He creates–the result of His speaking “Let there be…”– it is saturated with song. For music integrates both wisdom and wonder, the mathematical and the mystical.

Therefore, when we encounter the Holy Spirit, when we ask to be filled with Him, we are exhorted to do so in the context of music. (“Be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart.” Ephesians 5:19 ESV). Music both hosts and expresses Him. It is the robe of God.

The invisible God is hosted among us as we sing and make music. The worshippers, with their instruments and their voices, sing facing us, and we, as worshippers gathered in the name of Christ, sing in response to them. And in the midst of us, the Spirit is hosted, for He lives in the flow of heaven’s worship. Indeed, He is the source and reason for this beauty and this joy. And by doing these things we participate with Him in the administration of His purposes and His power. And He meets with us, that the core needs of our hearts–the needs He himself created–would be found in Him: that we would not be alone, and that we would have a home. We behold His glory, and we are satisfied in Him.

We are just barely beginning to touch the mystery and majesty of it here, but we know we are onto something. Heaven is a music-saturated place where the tones and the melodies do not merely entertain, but edify: they create, they build, they develop. They transmit the giving and the receiving of love–for heaven is also a world of self-giving love. Again this is why worship on earth is adjacent to and integrated with being filled with the Spirit. It parallels what is taking place in the core of reality, the heart of all things: the throne room of God the Creator, where the love of the Father for the Son, through whom all things were made and by whom all things will be re-made in the New Heaven and New Earth, are engaged in the joy of giving and receiving. And by His Spirit we are included. We are grafted into this mystery to the accompaniment of His love, hope, and faithfulness in hearable form.

And we realize that music is more than just an adornment to our gathering together. It is the heartbeat of the Body of Christ.

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