The Yorkie. The St. Bernard.
The Rockies. The Blue Ridge Mountains.
Equatorial rain forests. Tundra.
High tide. Desert.
The Wildcat Hills. The valley.
Guppies. The Blue Whale.
The Quarter Horse. The Sea Horse.
Would you say God likes variety?
Red, brown, yellow, black and white, they are precious in His sight …
Violet – blue – green – yellow – orange – red.
Bass – baritone – tenor – alto – soprano.
Largo – Andante – Moderato – Allegro – Presto.
Shouts ! – – – (whispers).
Should we enjoy variety too? I say yes! God modeled it in creation, let’s enjoy it!
Sometimes I smile, sometimes I cringe at how quickly we become comfortable in the back yard of our own personal preferences. We like certain things so well we discredit everything outside our preferential fence. We’re especially prone to this with church music. I’ve said a few times, right in the middle of a church music discussion (OK, debate), “I LOVE rainbows! All of mine are red-violet!” It usually takes a second or two for it to sink in what I’ve just said. That’s no rainbow. It takes several colors to form a rainbow.
I remember a conversation I had with a worship pastor in the greater Milwaukee area. A media consultant at the time, I went to his church to see the facility and learn about his church I could suggest equipment that would complement its worship ministry. “We do new music,” he said. I asked a couple follow-up questions to see what more I could learn, but that was pretty much it. “If it’s new, we do it. As soon as it begins to age a little bit, we move on to something fresh.” How sad. In choosing “only new music” as one of his core values, that pastor left out more than he included. Musically, he chose one color. I remember saying —in the car on the way home, not to his face— “I hope you like orange, ‘cuz nothing rhymes with it.”
We have dozens of tempos to choose from, a wide variety of instrumentation, a full menu of styles and genres. We have access to high, medium and low voices, twenty centuries of church music thus far, written for all ages, in simple forms and complex. It’s all available: solos, ensembles, choirs, orchestras, praise bands and a capella, camp songs, testimony songs, teaching songs and doctrine or scripture set to music. Ours is to find and utilize the best (so long as we can play and sing it well).
As a church, the healthier we are, the greater our ability to appreciate variety while enjoying our personal favorites. We’re richest when we can appreciate depth of content, skilled musicianship, and innovative presentation. We’re passionate about loving and serving God here at Calvary, and we like variety. Before long “passionate” will best describe our love for God and “eclectic” will be the first word that comes to mind when someone asks about our musical approach.
e·clec·tic (ĭ – klěk’ – tĭk) adjective.
Selecting or employing individual elements from a variety of sources, systems, or styles: an eclectic approach to choosing our praise and worship literature.