Reggie Kidd, professor of New Testament and Worship at Reformed Theological Seminary, Orlando has been writing and teaching on worship for a number of years now. Besides his work at RTS he also teaches for Robert Webber’s Institute for Worship Studies. Recently his book “With One Voice” came out and I thought I would provide a brief overview of his article “Bach, Bubba & The Blues Brothers: The Singing Savior’s Many Voices” which is a great introduction to his thoughts.
“I, too, am captivated by the vision of Christ now leading worship in the church, fulfilling the promise of Psalm 22:22: “I will declare Your name to my brothers in the midst of the assembly I will sing a hymn to you” (Hebrews 2:12). Maybe it is simply because I know how hard it is for certain kinds of people to consider singing alongside certain other kinds of people, but I am especially taken with the fact that it is specifically “in the assembly” that the Psalmist locates the Savior’s singing.
What Songs does Jesus Sing? Thoughts from Psalm 22
- Jesus sings the Hebrew songs of covenant Faithfulness. (vs.23)
- Jesus sings the folk idioms from “all the families of the earth” (v.27)
- Jesus sings with the voice of the refined, the illuminati, the cultured. (v.29a)
- Jesus sings with all the grit and earthiness, with all the directness and rhythms of the “working poor.” (v.26)
- Jesus sings among the saints who have gone before. (v.29b , Heb 12:23)
- Jesus sings among the yet-to-be-born.(vv.30-31)
It’s About His Song, Not Ours
When seen in the light of the person of Jesus, the church’s Lead Worshiper, our squabbles over how to do it right — which group’s aesthetic will be honored, and which group’s dishonored — take on their true measure: they are pathetically small-minded.
While we try to pare His song down to a manageable repertoire, He is expanding it. While we are doing market research to decide whom we want to reach and, therefore, to whose aesthetic tastes we want to pander, the Singing Savior is distributing His magnificent voice across an increasingly wide spectrum of musical idioms. While we are dividing congregations along age lines, He is blending the songs of generations and nations and families and tribes and tongues to make sweet harmony, precisely through the differences, to the Father.
The day has come for us to mute our provincial songs, and start listening for His voice, for it is “like the sound of many waters” (Revelation 1:15), as rich and complex as the constitution of His people.
Jesus’ voice is what counts, not ours. And His is the voice of the Jew and the Gentile, the poor and the rich, those who have already had their say and those who have not yet even come into being. There is a unity and diversity in the voices of His assembly which we may not be able to hold together on our own, but which the Risen Christ, because He is literally and vibrantly present among us, can.
(c) Reggie Kidd
This article originally appeared in the RTS Reformed Quarterly, Summer 1999