Music and Theology

By Pastor Gary Jennings Jr

I ran into a video on Youtube a while back called “Theology through the Arts” (I will share the link below). In this video Jeremy Begbie talks about how music can give us insight on how to understand our relationship with God. One observation he makes is that when a mistake is made during a performance, there is no going back. The absolute worst thing you can do as a musician is to stop playing, apologize for the mistake (and draw attention to it), and start over. A good musician will instead keep going and work the mistake into the piece as if it belonged there right from the beginning. It no longer becomes a mistake, it becomes improvisation, it becomes a new song. Our spiritual lives are much the same way.

I remember listening to an interview with an actor who recently started doing theatre. One of the major differences between film and theatre is that in theatre you never get a second take. Its a performance. If a mistake is made, there is no stopping the show and doing it over again, the show must go on.

There was a scene in one of his plays where he was supposed to walk into a room and have an argument with his wife. When he went to open the door on set, the door was jammed. This was not part of the script, so he had to improvise. He began having the argument outside the room through the door, and eventually ends up kicking the door open to get into the room. That of course added to the drama and the scene ended up being way better than what was originally written.

We are all going to hit wrong notes in the future, we are all going to run into jammed doors in the days ahead. Are these occasions to stop the performance? Or are these occasions to create something new? Jeremy Begbie says that even the worst situations can we woven into God’s purposes. So whatever happens to us in the days ahead, lets remember that we serve a God that can take any situation and turn it into something wonderful.

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