Sunday, April 13, 2014

The Music of the Cross

A world without good and meaningful music would be a world of despair, loveless and forlorn. Music can express the hope, expectations, thrill and testimony of love, adventure, mercy and grace. That is why Christians sing. That is why the Taliban don’t. They have nothing to sing about for they don’t have a Saviour, no Heavenly Father and therefore no hope.

What has given the followers of Christ Jesus music in their hearts? The unbreakable embrace of Christ and His cross and the testimony of His resurrection. The very symbol which is a stumbling block to Israel and stupidity to all else is for Christians their glory. Why? Because of the story it tells, the person it reveals, the victory revealed and the grace unsealed to the believer. The symbol of horror and death has become the Hallelujah anthem of Eternity. The cross not only transforms, it has been transformed. It marks many graves yet it has its upright pointing to heaven. Surely it’s a symbol that those who are dead and lying horizontal have, or could have had an upward hope of Heaven.

The Judeo–Christian faith is saturated with music. That which is sung isn’t a wasted endeavour for it is sung to and in the presence of the Almighty God. When you read the Bible, especially the Psalms, you realise the writers were voicing their heart, its love and fears, joys and tears to the Lord of Glory. How is it possible for the eternal, holy and just God to hear and enjoy the individual’s or the congregation’s song? Someone has taken away the ‘sound–barrier’ between earth and heaven. What was the ‘barrier’? Humankind’s personal and corporate sin with all such a word includes. Such sinfulness simply offended the holiness of God and caused our ‘music’ to be mere obscene noise to His ears.

The cross of Jesus Christ has given us unending songs of gratitude and glory to our Lord and Saviour. There our past was dealt with. There our future unlocked. There we were transformed from enemies of, to being children of God. There we were given a song to sing that could never be silenced. On the cross Jesus sang the terrible lament ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me’? That would have been our enduring refrain in eternal darkness if Jesus hadn’t been willing to step between us and the holy judgments of the Father. Jesus sang it in agony so that by the power of His righteous life and resurrection we can sing the Hallelujah chorus gratefully.

Disciples of Jesus Christ need to sing. The Psalms or Gregorian chants, popular hymns or choruses even such masterpieces as ‘The Messiah’ or Saint Matthew’s Passion (of Christ and the cross) offers such opportunities. The musical wonder of the cross is that there is always something new and fresh to sing about. As a person ages in their faith some songs grab the heart and mind to become personal favourites and godly testimonies. The wonder of the saving life of Christ personally grasped by faith comforts us in our darkest times while thrilling us in our joyous ones.

The music of the cross is about love and redemption. It covers grace and mercy whilst embracing justice and holiness. It testifies to the triune God fulfilling His word at great personal agony. The music can never die. The composer did so that we who were dead in sin might live. The melody of the cross doesn’t fade, it grows stronger despite all the attempts of the ungodly, the Taliban and foolish to silence it. How is that possible? Because of the great words the angels said and made into a song about Easter Sunday ‘He (Jesus) isn’t here (in the tomb) He is risen!’

The music of the cross must be a personal experience before it can be celebrated as a corporate testimony. Should you long to have that song in your life lift up your heart to Jesus and offer it to Him, no strings attached! He will accept it, transform it, tune it to His wave length and then listen to the song He gives you to sing.

Revelation 5:11–12 sums things up so beautifully and powerfully ‘Then I (John) looked, and I heard the voice of many angels surrounding the throne and the living creatures and the elders; they numbered myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands, singing with full voice,
“Worthy is the Lamb that
Was slaughtered

To receive power and wealth
And wisdom and might
and honour and glory and

Now that is the finale of the Music of the Cross

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