Friday, January 8, 2016

Bruce R. McConkie on music and worship

Elder Bruce R. McConkie (July 29, 1915 - April 19, 1985) served as a Seventy from 1946-1972 when he was called to the Quorum of Twelve.  He served in that assignment until his death from cancer at age 69.
"Music is part of the language of the Gods. It has been given to man so he can sing praises to the Lord. It is a means of expressing, with poetic words and in melodious tunes, the deep feelings of rejoicing and thanksgiving found in the hearts of those who have testimonies of the divine Sonship and who know of the wonders and glories wrought for them by the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
"Music is both in the voice and in the heart. Every true saint finds his heart full of songs of praise to his Maker. Those whose voices can sing forth the praises found in their hearts are twice blest.
"'Be filled with the Spirit,' Paul counseled, 'Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord.' (Eph. 5:18-19.) Also: 'Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.' (Col. 3:16.)"
- Bruce R. McConkie, The Promised Messiah, p. 553

Elder McConkie was known for his scriptural, doctrinal pronouncements.  This is an interesting statement, perhaps somewhat of a contrast from his normal topics: "Music is part of the language of the Gods." Language is anything that helps us communicate thoughts and emotions. so that's a valid interpretation. Music is given to man to "communicate praises to the Lord." Is that how we use it? Do we employ music to share "the deep feelings of rejoicing and thanksgiving" that are in our hearts?

I like that expression. The first blessing is just to appreciate the power of music; but one who has a voice capable of expressing what is in the heart is twice-blessed!

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