NEXT weekend, I am going to join my high school classmates at a reunion in the Eastern Highlands. Close to three decades have passed since we last sat together in a classroom or shared dormitories at the great institution Tsambe, Santa or St Augustine’s Mission, Penhalonga.

Devotion column: Erasmus Makarimayi

Those of my stream are coming from all over the world to reconnect and network.

Your guess is as good as mine; that various foods and drinks will be consumed.

Because of age and other factors, some no longer eat our back-then favourite sausage or tea with sugar and quarter bread. There will be bulging tummies and bald heads.

However, the values instilled over the years we were there by our school principal, the late Father Kebble Hugh Proser, especially that November, still linger on.

During this great weekend of reunion, we will obviously play and skank the famous Funny Feeling by Denis Brown and Gregory Isaacs.

We will nostalgically dance to Negrea Love Dub by Linval Thompson and Scientist in the Kingdom of Dub by Scientist. These were the times of high school back then.

This wasn’t in any way limited to Santa nor was it the only genre of music but it preponderantly defined our dance nights.

I will use this as launch pad for interrogating believers’ attitude to music in general and what constitute gospel music, in particular.

Many believers nicodemously with condemnation listen to “secular” music. Is secular music a straight no?

We shall find out. I have entered houses unannounced and quickly music and television channels are changed.

There are many genres that are not gospel music but are erroneously classified as such. So I will take a two-pronged approach.

As a New Testament minister of the Grace of God, I am not called to preach beer or food, but Christ.

I have learnt tolerance over the years and how to positively and effectively use that to redeem time to bring many to Christ.

The point is to bring all to a saving relationship with God. Apostle Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 9:22: “To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.”

However, based on the supreme principle of love and depending on maturity, he is quick to advise us that he wouldn’t go off the mark.

1 Corinthians 6:12, Amplified, reads: “Everything is permissible (allowable and lawful) for me; but not all things are helpful (good for me to do, expedient and profitable when considered with other things). Everything is lawful for me, but I will not become the slave of anything or be brought under its power.”

He emphasises in 1 Corinthians 10:23, New King James: “All things are lawful for me, but not all things are helpful; all things are lawful for me, but not all things edify.”

Level of sanctification defines what one chooses in life.

We need to understand what we mean by worldly or secular music. Anything invented by man is of this world.

Music deals with many genres, some of which are worldly.

Don’t rush to conclude before we deduce what Gospel music is. All rhythms are of this world; slow, fast, reggae, classical, acappella, rap and others.

A look at Scriptures shows that no specific music was called holy and heavenly.

The Old Testament records in Psalm 150:3-5: “[3] Praise him with the sound of the trumpet: praise him with the psaltery and harp. [4] Praise him with the timbrel and dance: praise him with stringed instruments and organs. [5] Praise him upon the loud cymbals: praise him upon the high sounding cymbals.”

Please, note that these music equipments were not dropped from heaven into the temple.

They could be purchased from the market and learnt and used to create any kind of music.

If you read soberly, you will notice that no specific music was inferred here.

Let’s have a look at the four Gospels. Jesus referred to music in the famed “prodigal son” story.

He says in Luke 15:23-25: “[23] And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry: [24] For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry. [25] Now his elder son was in the field: and as he came and drew nigh to the house, he heard music and dancing.”

There was dancing and merriment. Different genres of music could produce it with different accompaniment of instruments. Jesus is recorded to have sang once and no form of music was explained.

Matthew 26:30 reads: “And when they had sung an hymn, they went out into the mount of Olives.”

Maybe it was acappella, maybe it was fast or slow, we can’t tell. It appears that’s your choice, as we shall see later.

Allow me, please, to continue next week. Grace and peace be multiplied to you through knowledge.

lAll Bible quotations are from the King James Version unless otherwise stated.

lFeedback: pastor@newgatechapel.org Fellowship with Pastor Makarimayi on Facebook and on www.twitter.com/PEMAKARIMAYI. Telephone +263 712 332 632