This morning  my professor for CotN History and Polity posted his thoughts on his Sunday worship experience, and being an unquenchable worshipper myself, I had to chime in with my two cents.  Now there is MUCH MORE I could say on this topic since it is hard-wired into my DNA, but I think my quick reply get’s to the heart of the matter.  Not sure who else may chime in to this discussion, only time will tell, but if I can, I will try to add their contributions to the discussion to the “comments” section of this post. 

Professor: This morning I was in a church service in which we probably spent about five minutes singing a song that, I kid you not, went something like this:

I’m trading my sorrow
I’m trading my shame
I’m laying it down for the joy of the Lord
I’m trading my sickness
I’m trading my pain
I’m laying it down for the joy of the Lord

Yes Lord yes Lord yes yes Lord
Yes Lord yes Lord yes yes Lord
Yes Lord yes Lord yes yes Lord Amen

It honestly never got into any more depth than that.

REALLY?  Nearly two thousand years to plumb the depths of God’s love, and this is what we come up with?

 My Reply:   Well, that song’s been around awhile, but yes, I do see your point, it is kind of shallow now that I sit back and really think on it.  I think it just goes to show how we in America have “cranked out” our worship songs to be another one hit wonder, something that the rest of the world can do with ease.  It’s no wonder that the church is in the shape it is in because of superficial songs like these, it pretty much reflects a superficial un-genuine faith.  I don’t mean to sound harsh, but one of my biggest rants has always been people’s superficiality and lack of real transformation in their lives that they claim to be a believer.  My pastor has said again yesterday, that when the world sees Christians just trying to get by, complaining, ect it’s not very attractive, who wants that kind of Christianity. This is not to say that we don’t have bad days, but we must choose a better outlook on our lives in Christ than what we often settle for as our lot in life.  We have huge power in Jesus and too often we do not live in it, because I don’t believe that we really believe in it. It’s easy to say, but much harder to live out when you really get a hold of it. But then too, if we claim sanctification, or even at least a new life in Christ, than we do hold that power.  Sadly, we don’t live in it.  I think if we really did, we would see a church that was much different and closer to an Acts 2 transformation.     Makes me glad to know that I am in a house of worship where all we do is to strive to give Him our best worship, it’s our main focus, to come together, to lift him up, to enter his presence, to be touched by his love, and to be reminded of the power that we do hold. Songs like this will never allow us to enter into that, they are just skimming the surface of what could be. 

3 thoughts on “Worship???

  1. Here is a response from a fellow classmate, He does have a point, but I still hold to mine above:

    Hmmm…I’ve been around that song for many years and I’ve never had that kind of problem with it. In fact, I’ve seen it really make a difference in the attitude of quite a few believers.

    I can see how just looking at the song on a lyrical level, the idea is extremely simple. But, like any song we use in worship, the “depth” of at the moment of worshipping really comes from our interaction with God, our understanding of what the song is saying, our past experiences, and our current state of being. It might be simple to sing “I’m trading my sorrow…for the joy of the Lord” but I would submit that it is a very complicated thing to actually do.

    While it may not be the model worship song, the song you are refering to does quote scripture directly and references some fairly hefty theological ideas including the idea that Jesus became a curse for us that we might be blessed, that God is a keeper of promises (covenant), and that there is a “morning” full of “joy” that lies beyond our current “night” of “sorrow.”

    (Paul’s words from 2 Corinthians 4 are used in the 2nd verse/bridge:

    8 We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.)

    I certainly understand where you are coming from with this post, and I myself have often looked at worship songs and been frustrated by their “simplicity” and longed for something to really sink my teeth into. I think we also have to remember, though, that theologically complex hymns are not for everyone, and I am not speaking of simply a matter of “taste” but of a matter of comprehension.

    While as a collective body we may have had 2000 years to plumb the depths of God’s love, I personally have had just about 20. And I’m not sure if I’ve ever heard a worship song (be it hymn, “chorus” or otherwise) that adequately captures the magnitude of God’s love. Or if I ever will.

    Just some thoughts. Thanks for prompting some reflection on my part about the nature and purpose of worship through music.

  2. Hey Robin!

    Great thoughts! I used to have problems with songs like this, but if this song is mixed with other song with more words in a worship set, it allows worshippers time to really soak in the Word.

    Christians in Africa will dwell on a few words for up to 20 minutes. They like to let it soak into their spirits. Yes, it can be shallow, but there is definitely a place for it. 🙂

    Hope seminary is going well for you!


  3. Hi Gabe,

    Thanks for your insights, they make a lot of sense. Loving NTS, and how God leads us!! Hope your music is going well too. Thanks for reading. God Bless!

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