I realize there was already a music week here at the Torrey Gazette, but I like to be fashionably late.
There is a shortage of good Christian music. And by good Christian music, I mean Christian music that has actual Biblical, Christian themes.
About a year and a half ago someone introduced the band My Epic to me. The first song I heard by them was “Lower Still” which moved me to tears as I sat at the Chick-fil-a inside my university’s student center. This, of course, made me listen to the entirety of their repertoire.
Good music should move you. It should reach inside you and strike a chord (pun intended). Its lyrics and instrumentation should make you think and make you feel. Good music makes you remember things that are important.
When you make music Christian, then, it shouldn’t just make you feel. It should make you think. It should make you remember. What you feel with this Christian music should come from what it makes you think of and what it makes you remember, not the other way around. Christian music, therefore, must be Biblical. This Christian music should make you think on and remember God’s Word.
This band My Epic has, to be quite honest, not only incredible musicians and vocalists, but some of the most beautiful lyrics expressing the words of Scripture that I have ever heard. They have an understanding of what sin is, the Incarnation, Christ’s atonement for us, and the Christian life.
In the small amount of good contemporary Christian music that there is, all of these themes are present to some extent. But one important theme is usually missing.
My Epic has a strangely robust theology of the resurrection of the body. The resurrection is often left out of modern Christian music, instead stopping with things like flying to heaven or “living in glory.” The resurrection of our bodies, the fact that we will have a perfect body like Christ’s, and that all sin will finally be removed is skipped over!
But this song “Perfector” by My Epic treats the resurrection in a wonderful way.
He begins singing about how he is young, and for that reason, he doesn’t think much of death. No one does until it’s “coming for them.” Day by day we get closer, but
“Death is just a hook behind a door/where I’ll leave my dirty clothes
They may dump my body in the sea/spread my ashes miles wide
It won’t matter/ all my parts will realign
They will rush to meet each other/ when they hear their Lover’s cry
And death will be abandoned/ when He comes back for His bride…Death is swallowed up”
This door of death for Christians is no longer scary. Christ Himself has passed through. Instead of terror, He promised something else comes with death: what’s dirty will be removed. The sin that we carry in our person will be put off, and left behind forever.
I think of the Christians in the early church who were taken to the Coliseum and torn apart by wild animals or burned at the stake. I think of all of the Christians today who are tortured and dismembered for the faith. Christians who died in plane crashes, car accidents, or by drowning; all of these have this promise: their bodies will be put back together once again.
Death is an aberration. Body and soul were never meant to be separated. And death separates them.
But the promise for those in Christ is that they will be reunited. Not only reunited but reunited in a body like Christ’s: a perfect body. The same voice of God that calls sinners from spiritual death is the same voice that will call their physical bodies out from the grave and make them new on the Last Day.
The song nears the end as the lyrics echo this Scripture:
“Precious in the sight of the Lord
is the death of his saints.” Psalm 116:15
Our God often works opposite of how we think things should go. He has different ways than we do. For those who have died in Christ, it is the most joyous day, for at that moment they are in the presence of our Lord. While we who remain groan in sorrow over the effects of this world, the reverse is true for the one who has died. In fact, I think they would echo the words of Paul in Philippians 1: “To die is gain.”
In J.R.R. Tolkien’s legendarium, death is given to the race of men as a gift. The Elves do not understand it, for they are immortal. They are bound to the world. But Men are not. Death takes them “beyond the circles of the world” where they are freed from the cares and toils of life. It is a gift to not stay and watch what other evils the world works.
We don’t often think of death as a gift, and in one sense, it is not. But the Deceiver intends to use death for harm. To scare and frighten with the unknown. But death has been rendered impotent. Through and in Christ, it has turned into an unexpected gift. Our God makes all things work together for the good of those who love Jesus and are called according to His purpose. Even death.
Christ, having come through and conquered death, will bring about the ultimate good by raising us from the dead, removing all traces of sin, and perfecting the work He began in us, fulfilling His promise. And then He will make all things in this sin-stained world new. And it will last forever.
The fact that this concept can be present in a song should make you want to go listen to that song.
And this band.
And all their albums.
So stop reading and go listen.