Friday, January 20, 2006

I Have a Hope

This past Sunday my wife worked in one of my son’s Sunday school classes, so I attended service alone. Now I have to preface everything else that I say with an admission of bias. I like hymns, old hymns. This doesn’t mean that I don’t like modern choruses. I just don’t care for the ones that repeat over and over and over and over and over and over… you get the idea.

They don’t prepare me for worship. It has the opposite affect. Case in point, a whlie back a friend of mine was standing next to me at a service and we sang a one phrased line that went “I have a hope that will never fade away”. This went on for almost eight minutes. I’m not exaggerating. OK – maybe I am, by one minute. At about the five-minute mark, my friend leans toward me and sings, “I have a song that will never go away”. As I smirked and looked around, I noticed a lot of others looking around too. They had a collective look on their faces that appeared to say, somebody bump the turntable to get this record unstuck. It just seemed to go on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on – you get the idea.

Sunday we sang another song that seemed to have no end. I looked around and noticed that others were fading after a certain point. I know I may be approaching a sore subject for some, but you have to admit, after a certain point, God must hear me sing, “I have a hope that will never fade away”.

One thing about old hymns, you know they are uniquely for the Church. As I analyze some modern choruses, I notice that they can be sang with equal meaning in a church, in a temple, in a mosque, and in a reading room. Another thing I notice is that many of these songs are focused on me, and about me. I have a hope – I bless you – I, I, me, me. I like choruses and hymns that instruct and inform, the kind that are uniquely for the Church – you know, the big slab of meat songs. Some day I hope we get past this phase of repetition. I have a hope.

sideache@sideache.net

1 comment:

Kara said...

Perhaps some "7-11" songs repeat one too many times for some people's taste, however the Almighty doesn't share our taste (thankfully). God doesn't seem to mind some repetition of that which is true. Revelation 4:8, "Each of the four living creatures had six wings and was covered with eyes all around, even under his wings. Day and night they never stop saying: "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come." Day and night they never stopped...gives a whole new meaning to repetition.
I also love old hymns and love to sing them in church. However, the purpose of worship time in church should not be for instruction or information for US and OUR benefit. Instead it should be time when we focus on God, who He is, and praising and lifting up His name. I believe hymns do this, but there is no doubt that many, many modern praise and worship songs do this also and most are chuck-full of Scripture.
Remember, back in the day when hymns were new, people were very offended by them since in many cases they were reworked bar-room tunes with Christian words. Many hoped they wouldn't last....
One last thing...if you are busy looking around the church it's no wonder you're not ready for worship. I don't say this in a remotely condescending way, as I have found myself doing just the same thing! I have found though, it helps immensely to close my eyes and actually focus on the words and what they mean and on the Lord. This is helpful with hymns also. Sometimes we can become so distracted with the leader, musicians, and other people around us, that we forget to focus on God.
Let's enjoy this new generation of songs while not throwing out the classics.