I’ll admit, when I’ve left my iPod on the kitchen counter and the local pop stations are too annoying to handle, I’ll click on over to the local Christian radio station. Often I do it just to hear some of the craziness going on (it has a STRONG political bias, and doesn’t put forth much effort in keeping this hidden) and maintain a pulse with what’s going on. I don’t listen only to be critical.
The day after Thanksgiving kicked off their continuous Christmas music binge. This is of course Christian artist versions of Christmas songs. Even though tons of artists cover religious Christmas songs because they’re classics, these are not given air time simply because they were made by a secular artist. The Christian station would seemingly have a very narrow range of Christmas songs to play, but thankfully (?) almost every Christian has been required by their record label to put a Christmas album of some kind.
Playing only songs by Christian artists does raise a good question about worship, however. I’m sure the station has reasoning for not playing a Mariah Carey version of a hymn, and instead only choosing ones by religious artists, but it does beg the question: can you worship to song not performed by a Christian?
Well maybe it doesn’t beg the question, but I’ll answer it anyway – with a yes. First of all, any worship artist would likely say their music is not the point – their music is merely a vehicle that gets you to a destination. We don’t worship the music itself.
Some would say that ‘well the non-Christian artist didn’t create the music with that intent so you can’t use it for worship’ – but we certainly don’t sit down and evaluate the motive of every song we use in worship – because once again the song or object has little significance. And God has a track record of using things for his purposes that people would never have though could be used.
If you’ve ever walked in a European cathedral and been hushed by its beauty and ushered into a time of worship, its quite likely the people who built that did it, well, for the money. The architect may not have even been a Christian.
Maybe that was a silly example, but nonetheless I think we can take some cues and see that worship is not confined to the realm of Christian books and songs. And maybe we can realize that God is not confined to realm of Christians, but is in fact working in all people in some way. One thing is for sure – God is always moving – and another thing is fairly certain – he’s moving in ways that defy our ideas and traditions.