Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Scriptures for Musicians, Part II
“The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly”

As I was cleaning out my email box earlier today, I came across this string of postings I’d gotten myself tangled up in. As I read it over, I realized it was a big part of some things I’ve been wanting to say in my blog. Rita and Bruce are members of a forum of LDS Musicians I’m in. I’ve excerpted their comments as they were quoted in my response.

--- Rita wrote:

…I can't even sing anymore and that breaks my heart. If I could get a blessing to restore my average singing voice so I could sing songs of praise to God and the things I hear in my head I would!

---Bruce wrote:

EVERYONE ON EARTH CAN SING. It is only mankind's perception of 'quality' that is in question. Some of the most wonderful singers I know have, technically, the most wretched voices - it is their love and testimony that make them beautiful. AND THE LORD LOOKS AT THE QUALTIY OF THE HEART; NOT THE QUALITY OF THE VOICE.

---I wrote:

OK, I'm going to way get in trouble for this one, I know. But it's something that over the years I've
come to feel very strongly about:

Some scriptures:

Psalm 66:1 "Make a joyful noise unto God, all ye lands"

Now, I'm not a biblical scholar, nor do I know much (or anything, really) about translation from ancient Hebrew, but I find it very interesting that the text uses the word "noise" rather than the word "music". Part of me thinks that it's because the Lord wants it to be joyful, (here's the dangerous part) and he doesn't care if it's professional.

Another scripture:

D & C 4, my comments added:

1 “Now behold, a marvelous work is about to come forth among the children of men.”

This is usually applied to the work of the building of the Kingdom, and missionary work. But let's apply this to the work of creating great music for the edifying of the saints.

2 “Therefore, O ye that embark in the service of God, see that ye serve him with all your heart, might, mind and strength, that ye may stand blameless before God at the last day.”

As we jump into this work of creating great music, we have to do it, as all that we do for Him, with everything that we have.

3 “Therefore, if ye have desires to serve God ye are called to the work;”

The only requirement for the calling is a desire to sing/write/create for His glory.

4 “For behold the field is white already to harvest; and lo, he that thrusteth in his sickle with his
might, the same layeth up in store that he perisheth not, but bringeth salvation to his soul;”

The need for good music is there. There are people ready and waiting for it. If we dive in and provide that need in any way we can, we will be blessed.

Now here's the good (and dangerous part): This next verse is where the Lord lists all of the qualification requirements for participating in this great and marvelous work and wonder:

5 “And faith, hope, charity and love, with an eye single to the glory of God, qualify him for the work.”

Hmmm... I didn't catch the work "skill" in the list. Let me check again. Hmmmmm... Nope. What about "talent"... Not there. Maybe He phrased it differently. Maybe He said "Beautiful voice", or "good at it". Checking... Nope. Still nothing.

6 “Remember faith, virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, brotherly kindness, godliness, charity, humility, diligence.”

Now here He's listing all of the qualities that will benefit someone who's wanting to join the work. These are things that, when applied, will make their work for the Kingdom more effective. Hmmmmm... Nope. Still no mention of "skills". "Talent"? Whoa, not there either!

Now, there is a mention of "knowledge", and "diligence". I think that means that the Lord wants
us to learn and work hard, so that we can continuously get better, and more effective in our service.

And as He helps us get better, He wants us to stay humble, and recognize where those talents and skills came from, and what they need to be used for.

7 “Ask, and ye shall receive; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. Amen.”

This is the most beautiful promise of all. If we want the "skills" and we want the "talent" so that we can turn around and use that to bless the lives of others, all we need to do to begin that process is to ask for it.

So (more dangerous stuff, so you might not want to read this), if someone ever tells you that you're not any good, or that you're "not professional enough" or that you "sound bad" or whatever, realize that even though some people might think that, God doesn't care.

Let me say that again:

God Doesn't Care

He gave you one, three, or five talents, and he expects you to do your best with them. Notice that
the one with three got the same reward as the one with five. The only one that got punished was the one who hid his one.

So, sing out!

Make a Joyful Noise all ye lands!

Mark Hansen

1 comment:

  1. Wonderfully stated, Mark!

    We make music in the world and sometimes the world will demand more from that music than what we're capable of giving, but when we are making that music for the sake of making it and for the joy of it, that is what matters most. And no matter what it is the Lord can put it to work in the lives of others and bless you for creating it.

    Please know that you and your music and your singing are an inspiration to me.





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