Lila Olson, soprano
"Let the godly sing for joy to the Lord;
it is fitting for the pure to praise him.
Praise the Lord with melodies on the lyre;
make music for him on the ten-stringed harp.
Sing a new song of praise to him;
play skillfully on the harp, and sing with joy."
~ Psalm 33: 1-2
There are over 1000 references to music in the Old Testament. Holy Scripture teaches us that music is very important to our God. Chapter 4 of Genesis speaks of Jubal, the first musician. He invented the harp and flute. From the very beginning God saw fit to list music among the essential skills given man to maintain culture. Music received the same attention as agriculture and metalworking technology.
Throughout scripture music is central to gatherings of God’s people. In Genesis 21, Laban followed Jacob and asked, “Why did you slip away secretly? I would have given you a farewell party, with joyful singing accompanied by tambourines and harps.”–Genesis 31: 27 We are blessed with an entire book of Psalms that commemorate the full range of human experience as we interact with our Creator. There are songs of praise, lament, rage and contrition.
God commanded Moses to teach the Hebrews a song that related the history of God’s chosen people so they would never forget HIS miraculous provision for them. Music has always been used to teach, encourage and admonish believers.
Music is a critically important element of worship as evidenced throughout the Bible. A quick study of I Chronicles reveals David’s plans for high quality, skilled and intergenerational worship. Musicians accompanied the procession of the Ark to its resting place in the City of David. David then appointed a musicians’ guild to minister at the Tabernacle once the Ark of the Covenant was in place. The musicians were Levites who “followed all the regulations handed down to them.” – I Chronicles 6:32b. They were staff at the Tabernacle. “Each morning and evening they stood before the LORD to sing songs of thanks and praise to him”–I Chronicles 23:30. These were the families of Asaph, Jeduthun, and Heman. There were 288 of them! Both students and teachers participated in leading worship during their appointed rotation through the year. These families were trained, accomplished musicians. At the completion of Solomon’s temple the noise of celebration went on for 14 days!
Tabernacle and Temple worship were painstakingly carried out according to God’s direction. The instruments, vestments, food, clothing and shelter would have been a large item in the Temple budget, but both David and Solomon took care to see that this aspect of the Jewish culture was fully supported and carefully maintained.
In the New Testament, worship went underground as Christ’s faithful gathered to worship, pray and study God’s word. On the night before he was betrayed, Jesus gathered with his disciples to share the Passover. They sang some songs and then went out. The command to sing Psalms, hymns and spiritual songs continues to this day.
For those of us in Deo Cantamus, the call to serve Christ with our voices and instruments is one that each of us joyfully answers. We prepare our music with all the skill, knowledge, time and seriousness of the ancient Levites. The talents that God has entrusted to us as musicians are a big part of our commitment to HIM. We want to learn excellence–to be able to present our music to HIM developed and practiced to a high level of competence. The result is an ensemble able to respond quickly to the wishes of our composers and directors.
We love one another with a bond that defies description. We long for one another and the opportunity to prepare concerts together to glorify God. The resultant joy is rich food for our souls (and we hope the same is true for our audiences).
For nearly 2 years we have been unable to travel and gather together freely. Some organizations have produced elaborate video productions by compiling videos submitted by individual musicians followed by months of painstaking editing. Deo Cantamus does not have those resources, so we have prayed and waited for the day that we can be in the same room.
We have just received our music for the October 23, 2021 concert and we are preparing for a timely performance titled, “Consolation for the Suffering.” Please pray with us that we will be able to lift our voices together to comfort and encourage a weary people. Do plan to join us in person or via the livestream as we honor our Lord’s commands to make music skillfully and joyfully.