Glorifying God Through Music and Other Creations
Recently, I had the pleasure of meditating on the glorification of the Father through the things that we make, whether it be music, art, woodwork, designs, or anything else!
When I pluck a string on the guitar, it creates resonant frequencies that vibrate out into the air, into my body, and into the world around me. When anyone does anything to make any type of noise this is the case. Now, my question was this:
Does someone who is more skilled at guitar glorify God better than I do?
I imagine the likes of players such as Tommy Emmanuel, Django Reinhardt, and John Mayer, and the skill and tact with which their fingers navigate the strings. Even King David comes to mind.
I concluded that though they may have greater skill and complexity in their playing, and probably have (by the world's objective standards) more beautiful music, at the end of the day, God's is notsomuch glorified by the product which we produce as much as the intention with which we create.
If I pluck a single A note on the guitar, and John Mayer plays the Moonlight Sonata in Eb, the simple objective reality is that frequencies are vibrating forth from the strings, and out into the world around us. In both instances, God will receive glory because He is the creator of music and of all things, and he instilled in each of us a bit of His divinity to share in the mystery of His love. However, in either case, if the intention behind the playing is "me, me, me, look at me", then the person is playing in vain. This begs the question that when our lives come to an end, will God judge us by how we produced, or how we intended to glorify Him? The answer is actually both, but intention must result in fruit borne through production. Production alone without intention is worth far less, and what is more beautiful in God's eyes is our interior disposition, regardless of the skill or quality with which our creations are produced. (James 2: 14-26)
So, no matter what note I play, if I do it for the glory of God, He is pleased. Even if the music sucks! And if John Mayer plays Amazing Grace in every single key, for the glory of God, He will be even more pleased! For he who has received great gifts from God, and chooses to give them back, receives all the more benefit from God, and gives God greater satisfaction. (Matthew 13:12, 25:14-40 *29)
This applies to all things we create and do, whether it is art, music, sports, or anything else. In the spirit of St. Ignatius, we are called to do all things "ad majorem Dei gloriam!", or, "for the greater glory of God!"
If you are just beginning your work, and you are concerned with your skill level, or how the world will perceive your work, ask God in prayer the purify the intention behind what you are doing. Intend to glorify God through whatever it is you are creating, and then with confidence, release what you have been given into the world. God's glory will be made manifest to all who perceive it, and we cannot know exactly how or where our submission to the will of God will impact another.
When we die, Jesus will greet us, and look at us from the perspective of our soul, judging us by our intentions and how they produced, not by our productions alone.
How could a loving God look at us, and see that in everything we did there was a desire to glorify Him, and not take mercy or compassion on us despite our faults?
And it is important to note as well, that we live in a broken world, where perfection does not exist outside of Christ. Rather, God, Himself, in Jesus came to the world to bring us a taste of it.
Perfect comes from the Latin, perfectum, which is the perfect passive participle of the verb perficere, which means, "to complete".
Nothing on this Earth will ever be perfect, except in Jesus who is perfection Himself. By setting our eyes on the Kingdom, and our intentions with all that we do, we will draw near to perfection, and it eventually will follow, both in our lives, and in the things that we do and produce.
So, in conclusion, my message is this. Be not afraid to produce, and allow your intentions to shift to the glorification of God Almighty. Put your productions out there, in continued pursuit of the Kingdom of God, and trust that the things you seek to accomplish will follow (Matthew 6:33). Do the best you can to glorify God, and He will take care of the rest and will be greatly pleased as a result.
Peace and AMDG,