Saturday, August 5, 2017

Exactly what are you singing?

   I was reading a blog post today by a person in the church of Christ who seems to have a difficult time with many of the songs we sing in our worship to God today (click here for a link to the post in question). Now I'm not saying every song in our song books (which are written by men and not by God like the Bible is) is Biblically sound, but I do take exception with the author of the post in that he/she seems to be very narrow minded and fairly uneducated when it comes to prose and poetry which is what most hymns are.
  For instance the author points out in one of the examples ("Lamb of God" - #176 in Songs of Faith and Praise) that the words "The humble King they named a fraud And sacrificed the Lamb of God" indicate it was the crowd who did the actual crucifixion of Christ and it was a sacrifice. Now any person who has read the Bible knows Pilate gave Christ over to be crucified and he definitely was not a "sacrifice" from the Jews to God. Thus we can understand the songs writer (Twila Paris) is not claiming that the Jews sacrificed Jesus but that Jesus was a sacrifice. I believe in such instances the writer has taken a degree of artistic liberty in order to put the listener into a frame of mind of Christ's humility and meekness in the face of earthly death as well as his strength, power and love.
   Certainly we are to be mindful of the words we sing when we sing in worship. Our hearts and our minds must be focused on our words and the words must be a reflection of our hearts in much the same manner as when we partake of the Lord's Supper and the serious solemnity with which we remember Christ's death, burial and resurrection and what it means to each of us.
   Surely though we can sing songs in worship and the words can be taken in multiple ways.
   The author of the blog (and it is very annoying that the author did not have the decency to name themselves) picked several songs which he/she ascribes ulterior meanings to. "Shine, Jesus, Shine" (by G. Kendrick, #290 in Songs of Faith and Praise) is a beautifully penned hymn in which the author is asking Jesus to "shine on" him/her and asking the Holy Spirit to "blaze" and "set our hearts on fire." The blog author however advocates a position from which the singer is commanding God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit to do things or basically commanding Jesus to "get busy" as he or she puts it.
    Again, the words we sing must be true and reflective of our hearts and we must be ever vigilant to fight against false teachings, however it is persons such as the author of that blog post who is doing more damage than good by inventing alternative meanings to songs where there is no alternative meaning.
    So "Sing On Ye Joyful Pilgrims" and "To Christ Be True!"

-oh, and by the way, my name is Charlton Wiggins and I wrote this blog posting!