Absolutes in Worship
This morning I heard a worship song that sounded pretty cool. I started thinking of using it at our church or with Hello Industry at conferences. But after a few lines, my excitement faded. This happens pretty regularly and I've never been able to put my finger on the reason... until today.
I've always felt a disconnect between the worship music I write or connection with and the music I hear on the radio or in churches. A lot of it is musical. I don't get excited about formulaic music. When my 3yr old can point out that it's a Christian radio station 5 seconds into my switching to the channel, it's probably safe to say that Christian music has become predictable. It's a sound that hasn't changed in many years and it sounds eerily similar to mainstream music about 10yrs ago. Far behind the trends. Low on uniqueness or creative expression. It's a formula.
But the music isn't the problem. One good thing about formulaic music is that it's easy to catch onto since you can almost predict the next thing that will happen. Formulaic music in worship contexts can be helpful... I suppose.
I think my real disconnect is happening at the lyrical level.
Today I think I was able to put my finger on why. I think it 's the absolute language used in so many worship songs. "I will follow you wherever you go." "I give you my all." "I surrender everything to you." "I will love you forever." ...... But not really. None of those things have actually been true when I've said them to God. Nice things to say, but untrue. I understand that we can say something we'd like to be true and mean it as a commitment to work towards. But even in those cases, I'm know in the back of my head it should be more like "I will fail you forever".
I'm tired of saying nice things to God. I'm tired, in some cases, of lying to God.
If I'm going to sing a song to God, I'd like to sing a song that points out how things really are... and then deal with the reality - right then. Sure, I know "when we all get to heaven, what a day of rejoicing that will be", but today I feel like hell because I just screamed at my kids and wife for no good reason. I feel ugly. I'm living a half life. I'm scared of not being able to provide for my family or of wasting my life and being forgotten. If I'm talking with the God of the Universe, I'd like to talk about that.
This longing in my soul seriously limits the bank of worship songs I can choose from as a worshipper. But maybe that's a good thing - limitation breeds creativity and progress, and in this case limitation should breed new songs. I guess that's how most things worth anything begin.
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