Edward Waters         Bard of the Grey Wind

The Bardic Calling

               As the Church enters its third millennium the role of the Christian musician has come to be defined largely in terms of either 'worship leading' or entertainment. Those truly gifted in the former provide an important service to God and His people. The latter can be worthwhile as well, though all too often the draw of Christian entertainment, for both the performer and the 'fan', has more to do with showmanship, celebrity, and money than with the glory of God. But, even at their best, do corporate praise and stage performance really exhaust the potential of a believer's musical calling? Is there no more that a ministry of song may contribute?

               Once upon a time the world found use for something called a 'bard'. The word today means little more than 'poet' to many people; to others it is a nickname for Shakespeare; and practitioners of neo-paganism have appropriated it as a class of Druid.  But originally the bard was an individual of learning and artistic skill who became attached to some tribe or royal court and then served as a kind of resident historian. Through songs and recitations he would keep alive in his listeners' minds the tales of great events and deeds of the past, particularly those related to that audience's own heritage. And, if he did his job well, these memories would help to unite the people and would inspire them to attain to similar deeds in their own time.

              Surely there is a place in the Church for a bard of Christ, a musician learned in the Scriptures and skilled in his craft who can come before us and sing songs of our faith, tell us stories of our heritage, and be used of God's Spirit to inspire us to unite and serve our Lord as He was served by true saints of old. The Christian bard may take the best aspects of the music ministries we already know and bring them together into something new, something at once deeper in worship and higher than entertainment. And, if he does his job well, we might just find something new happening in us.

Copyright © 1998 by Edward Waters