This post by Sean Palmer starts off with quite a statement:
There’s nothing the church does so wonderfully and terribly as singing.
But Sean’s not just trying to pick a fight. He’s making a good point about the “individualization” of worship music. Too often we make it about ourselves as individuals, when the focus should be on God:
Don’t believe me? Do you know anyone who left their church because of a change in “worship?” In truth, these changes are barely changes in worship. Most churches still celebrate the Eucharist, engage sermons, sing, pray, and – sadly – have announcements. What changes is the singing! And the reason people leave over “worship” is because they know longer “like” the singing…
There are songs I hate, like “Amazing Grace.” I’ve never liked it, but I know “Amazing Grace” is tremendously meaningful for others. A friend recently shared with me the place of the song “Amazing Grace” in the recovery movement. The song means a great deal for members of AA and other recovery groups. Those folks are in my church. As a spiritual discipline, I can sing that song – though I despise it – on their behalf. I sing, therefore, not because it’s efficacious for me, but those around me.
I disagree about “Amazing Grace” – I love that song. But that’s kind of the point, isn’t it?
If only we could turn our focus outward, Sean says, we could really and truly praise God:
We have to ask ourselves serious questions about the nature of who we worship for when we walk out of common worship upset with God-directed music and lyrics, regardless of whether or not the praise team was “singing our tune.” If corporate singing were a spiritual discipline God would be at the center of it and in God’s presence, humankind has always simply bowed.
This is a great post and I highly recommend reading the whole thing. Really good stuff.
There’s also a great line from Rich Mullins in there, too.