Monday, March 23, 2009

On Songs & Singing..

Not long ago, I was with a group of university students enjoying a time of praise in song and prayer. Near the end of what a been a very uplifting time of worship, the question was asked, "Does anyone have a song they'd like to start?"

And someone did. This person started a song that I recalled singing as a youth minister with my youth group in the early 1990's. This was very popular praise song in the 90's, its words rooted in Scripture... one of those songs our youth group always liked to sing.

But in the year of our Lord 2009, this song sounded really dated. Most of the university students I was sitting with either didn't know the song, or were trying to recall the tune. Suffice it to say that after one verse and the chorus, the group respectfully segued to another song.

And that brief experience got me thinking... all songs were new at some point, and a lot of people liked to sing them, and the words spoke to various hearts in various ways. But even songs that aren't all that old (I don't consider the early '90s "a long time ago") lose their meaningfulness, appeal and the desire that they be sung.

I don't take this to mean that these were "bad" songs. I'm thinking what's taking place is a very normal thing... songs that speak to our hearts at certain times in our lives, don't at other times. And I believe a big part of letting the "word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God" is about singing psalms/hymns/songs that are meaningful to us... at that time.

So, the next time I'm about to fire off a verbal broadside like "Old/new songs just don't touch my heart" or "New/old songs are the best"--I want to remember that the age of a song is incidental to its power and ability in taking us before the Throne of our Father.