Sunday, August 26, 2007

Sing... sing a song

Music is a wonderful thing. There are so many songs that can define landmark moments in our lives, accurately express a powerful emotion we feel, or that just draw us in like magic and no matter how we might try, not tapping the toe or singing along isn't going to happen.

Sometimes it's songs like those in the last category that are among the worst songs ever written, as far as lyrical content goes. They might be catchy and easy to remember but in truth many of the songs like that that we sing are completely pointless. They don't mean anything, they really don't say anything, but we sing along anyway because they're catchy.

This is something I've thought a lot about and something that is a fairly common concern with me. So when Pulpit Magazine posted earlier this week about the difference between style and substance as it pertains to contemporary church music, it definitely caught my eye.

I wonder how many of us just sing along to songs that are seriously lacking in substance, but have an upbeat style - and we never give it a second thought? By the same token, I wonder how many of us ever really consider the words we're actually saying when we sing along with songs that are top level in substance? Those are just a couple of questions I had recently as I started reading through the words of the hymn we're learning as a family. Not only do I want my kids to know the words to this hymn, but I want them to get the words that they're singing, and know why they're singing them, and mean it. In any event, I give you our weekly hymn that exhorts us to gratefully sing, sing of His grace and sing His praises with true adoration. They're not just words to a song, they're exhortation to our very soul to glorify God:


O worship the King, all glorious above,
O gratefully sing His power and His love;
Our Shield and Defender, the Ancient of Days,
Pavilioned in splendor, and girded with praise.

O tell of His might, O sing of His grace,
Whose robe is the light, whose canopy space,
His chariots of wrath the deep thunderclouds form,
And dark is His path on the wings of the storm.

Thy bountiful care, what tongue can recite?
It breathes in the air, it shines in the light;
It streams from the hills, it descends to the plain,
And sweetly distills in the dew and the rain.

Frail children of dust, and feeble as frail,
In Thee do we trust, nor find Thee to fail;
Thy mercies how tender, how firm to the end,
Our Maker, Defender, Redeemer, and Friend.

O measureless might! Ineffable love!
While angels delight to worship Thee above,
The humbler creation, though feeble their lays,
With true adoration shall all sing Thy praise.