Optimism about America’s future aside, the comparison is poignant. Jazz is indeed, I believe, “the American music.”

May we dare suggest that the gospel itself is a kind of improvisation? For what is the good news, if not God’s wise, loving plan to redeem the human race by facing the daunting obstacles of sin and evil, and turning them upside down. It is God’s own willingness to be oppressed in order that He could re-emerge as Savior. By becoming man, and being humbled, Jesus Christ improvised. He took the givens, and worked with them, and made them work for Him. He “trumped” evil and caused death itself to die. Jazz music, at its best, is the expression of a people who know this truth. So you gotta love it.

William Edgar is a professor of apologetics at Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia, where he has served on the faculty since 1989.  He is the author of The Face of Truth, Reasons of the Heart, and Truth in All Its Glory: Commending the Reformed Faith, as well as articles on cultural apologetics and African-American music.

This article originally appeared on ByFaith Online. Used with permission.