So, I have a rule: I don’t rock the boat until I’m entirely convinced the boat needs rocking. And of course only when I have the clout to get the rockin’ goin’. Because of that, I want to specify something before I even get started on this blog: No boat rockin’ intended today. I’m not here to tell you you’re doin’ it wrong, or your pastor is doin’ it wrong, or anyone who may or may not be famous is doin’ it wrong.
That said, I’m kind of beginning to detest modern Christian music. There, I said it.
Christian music is all made up of cliches, anymore. I feel like there’s this pot of Christian phrases and sentences and sentiments, and all you have to do to write a Christian song is to reach into the pot, pull out three or six or fifteen papers, and arrange them so they rhyme. Here’s a sampling: “Worthy is the Lamb.” “We praise Your name.” “You’re high and lifted up.” “You’re awesome in this place.” I’m not even thinking of any specific songs. Those are just common papers in the pot.
Everything in that sampling is hugely, critically true. Our whole eternity hinges on those truths. As Christians, we have to understand them, to believe them, to meditate on them.
But have we made them cliches? When you sing along with a worship song, do you hear it? Or do you think more of the melody? If there’s a song you really like, is it because the truth in it rings so loud and clear in your mind, or because it’s a pretty song? Do you really worship Him? I don’t.
Here I want to reiterate my boat-rocking speech. Guys, if you are deeply touched by modern Christian music, and every time a worship band gets out their guitars, God touches your heart, and you really genuinely hear the words, that is downright cool. I am glad God speaks to you in that and that you’re not missing out on anything. Keep it up. For reals.
But if maybe, as you read, you’re trying to remember the last time you even paid attention to the worship at church, or you tend to find yourself really crazy about the singer and not the Creator, or you like worship because you like to sing – or whatever – I have a suggestion.
Hit the oldies shelf.
Hymns were absolutely not written out of a hat. Consider this verse of Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing, written by Robert Robinson:
O to grace how great a debtor
Daily I’m constrained to be!
Let Thy goodness, like a fetter,
Bind my wandering heart to Thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love;
Here’s my heart, O take and seal it,
Seal it for Thy courts above.
Like I said: if you’re getting a lot out of modern Christian music, I’m not going to tell you you’re wrong. But if you – like me – are having trouble hiding your yawns during worship time, consider looking into this. You could buy a CD of hymns – Jars of Clay has a great one called Redemption Songs, but there are plenty – or even just look up the words to these songs and meditate on them. Find YouTube videos of old hymns and play them in the background. Buy a few hymns on your iTunes.
Give it a shot. Let me know what you think.