Theology of a Song – Christ Be Magnified
A couple of weeks ago, Emily and I went to a small concert called Nashville in the Northwest. It was comprised of 5 singer/songwriters from Nashville that write music for big name singers. These artists themselves, while not being big names, were incredibly gifted at their craft. During one particular song, a dad singing about his daughter, Em squeezed my hand tight. She looked at me with a tear streaked face, and then down at our sleeping daughter Lucy. In a mere moment the words of this artist’s song had seeped into her heart, striking a chord that words otherwise may not have resonated.
Songs have the power to move us from simply knowing something, to making us feel and experience something.
We sing of this very thing in Cody Carnes song, Christ Be Magnified. In the second verse, we vocalize the words:
“When every creature finds its inmost melody, and every human heart its native cry, then in one enraptured hymn of praise we’ll sing Christ be magnified!”
I love these words because they resemble what we see in Revelation 5 when the Lion from the Tribe of Judah comes to open the scroll in God’s hand. No one is found worthy except for the Lion of Judah (who is Jesus). And the response of the (terrifying) creatures around Him, along with the elders around God’s throne is literally to BURST into song. The joy of the moment produced a new song, and that song magnified Christ!
A song is a response to revelation. Songs should move us to feel something not by manipulation, but because they verbalize something we know to be true about God. In the bridge we sing:
“I won’t be formed by feelings, I’ll hold fast to what is true. If the cross brings transformation, then I’ll be crucified with you.”
In Ephesians 6:14, Paul speaks about the armor of God making the case that we should “Stand firm with the belt of truth.” We aren’t to be a people who waver based on momentary emotions. Our feelings are not a compass toward true north. As Carnes writes, the cross is the thing that transforms us. To put it another way, the revelation of His glory displayed on the cross is a catalyst for moving us Christians into the active work of fighting our sin and seeking God’s power to transform us.
In the refrain, we sing:
“Oh, Christ be magnified, from the altar of my life, Christ be magnified in me!”
Paul’s heart cry – we read in Philippians 1:21 – is that “to live is Christ and to die is gain.” Paul offers himself as a living sacrifice. He sacrifices himself on God’s altar to be used for the magnification of Christ to anyone who would witness His life. May this ever be our heart cry, church! That Christ would be magnified in and through us, both as we gather to sing, and as we leave to our respective neighborhoods, workplaces, and families.
Looking forward to singing these beautiful words with you again soon!
In His Mercy,
Pastor Ryan Aufenkamp