December 18, 2017

The Center of Our Music

by Brad McKenzie

Recently, while preparing the walls and ceilings of our house for painting and papering, I have gained additional experience with an electric sander. In fact, one of three sanders I have used literally fell apart through frequent use. This enabled me for the first time to look at the mechanism, normally hidden above the sanding surface, which causes the machine to vibrate. It is simple, actually. There is a weight in the machine on the order of a flywheel that rotates at a high speed. What causes the vibrating, however, is the fact that the flywheel does not rotate on its center of gravity. The rotation point within the sander is intentionally off-center, which generates a violent jerking, and which in time, as I discovered, can also be self-destructive. What is appropriate for an electric sander that is designed to shake would be undesirable for any machine designed to run smoothly—say, for instance, an electric plane, a router, or a drill.

Not long ago I read an article in a regional paper in which the pastor of a prominent church was calling, for the most part atheistic people, to return to “the center” of their community, to the church. The church, he said, provides a much-needed “center” of social activity, a “center” for concerts, a “center” of child care, as well as a visual “center” with its towering steeple. Unfortunately, in the article there was no mention of Him, who by design should be at the center of people’s lives: “And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him” (Col. 3:17).

Is it not true that God has often been pushed more than just a little to the side by something which itself is not far off-center, the church? God intends for the church He has called into existence to direct the attention and praises of people to Himself (1 Pet. 2:9). Any church, however, which itself becomes the center of attention—an end in itself, and not a means to “the End” (Rev. 1:8, 13; 2:1)—is itself not in balance, and so cannot cause the lives of its parishioners to be in balance.

Let us return God and His Son Jesus Christ to the center of our lives, our churches, and yes— even of our church music—where He belongs, lest we discover too late that a slight aberration from the “Center” was indeed earth-shaking, and has caused our lives and churches to fall apart.

This article first appeared in FrontLine • September/October 2000. Click here to subscribe to the magazine.

Bradley McKenzie is a Gospel Fellowship Association Mission church planter in Magdeburg, Germany, where he has served since 1994. Brad and his wife, Krischa, are pianists and instruct five of their seven children in piano. Brad has lectured repeatedly in Germany on Christ-honoring music.

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