In most church services today, the time where people are called to corporately sing is called “worship.” This might be because traditionally most of the songs reflected on God and His character and therefore they were accomplishing the mandates of worship – that is acknowledging and honoring who God is. However, it seems less and less true that this is the intent of many songs. More and more, the melodies and harmonies resound with personal pronouns as we sing about who we are in relation to God and the warm fuzzy feelings we may experience as we think about our relationship to Him. Now humbly acknowledging who we are as sinful beings is a right response to God’s revelation, however, the focus of our singing should be on honoring Him as Creator and Redeemer. It’s a distinction that is difficult to describe, but it would be as if a lover wrote a letter to the beloved and never said one word about the recipient. Instead, the writer focused solely on the good things that happened in his life as a result of the courtship. Most people might accept this type of letter once, but if the relationship only existed as a response to how the beloved made the other feel, apart from who the beloved is, most would accept that there wasn’t much substance to that relationship.
For example, a currently popular worship song, in the midst of acknowledging Jesus as the center of our lives, contains these lyrics “We wrap our lives around your life.” While the sentiment is understandable, it doesn’t seem Scriptural. After all, God’s Word frequently is talking about how we should be in Christ, not that we should be taking our lives and overlaying them on Christ’s. “In him we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28) which means our lives aren’t merely cocooning His, but our very existence is found by placing our lives within His. Again, its a distinction that may be difficult to see, and may, quite frankly, seem like I’m being overly nit-picky. However, when our worship music is not rightly reflecting God, then it just becomes lovely melodies, and not a pronouncement or acknowledgment of who Christ is. In other words, it ceases to be worship.
When I was younger, people would talk about “Jesus as my boyfriend” songs – songs that seemed to minimize Jesus by describing Him in terms that would characterize a good suitor. The songs were derided because they didn’t accurately reveal the elevated state of Christ. May we not be accused of something similar by using worship to talk about our lives. May all of our worship always be focused on Him.
(A note – I started this post weeks ago. However, as I wrote it, I realized that it was too much for one post and I was stymied on how to edit it so as to make it so. Because of this writer’s block, I took a break from blogging and like any practice, the longer you go without doing it, the harder it is to get back in the swing of things. My apologies for the break. Hopefully, the post proves worth it.)