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What about us 'old people'?...





A question my husband will tell you that he hears me often ask is, "What about us 'old people'?..."   To clarify, I don't consider myself "old".  In fact, I think a person can be 90 and still feel young at heart!  But when it comes to my "preferred" worship style of singing hymns, the modern church would say that I need to "get with the times"; worship must be more palatable for the younger set.  

But what about us 'old people'?...

I hadn't planned on addressing a controversial subject early on in my blog history, but something happened during the worship set at my church this past Sunday that really caused me to confess, search my own heart,  pray, reflect and search out God's word on the matter.

My husband and I go to a wonderful, extremely Word centered church that lives out Christ's love.  They esteem God's Word with emphasis on teaching and discipling.   The Pastor's sermons are convicting, but are always shared in love pointing to a Savior that saves us from our sinful ways.  

The church service is held in a new facility where the gym is currently being used as the sanctuary complete with a sound stage that could rival any concert hall and praise teams that could rival any professional Christian band.  Some of the praise songs are loud and exuberant giving a concert feel. 

Up until this point, the churches my husband and I have attended or visited through my husband's ministry of pulpit-fill have been the typical protestant church buildings where hymns were played on an organ or piano.  ...a setting we were very comfortable in.  Where the rich theology, doctrines and scripture verses of the hymns drew us into the presence of the Lord bringing conviction, comfort, encouragement and praise.

This Sunday - a realization came to me...  because of my formative Christian years spent in traditional church settings, singing the traditional hymns,  I was not entering my current church's modern setting in a "posture of sacrificial worship to my God", but instead, for me personally, I was becoming distracted by the music.  When this conviction happened, I then found myself watching the praise team and began looking around at the congregation, the many people with hands raised high and truly "coming into the presence of God" through these praise songs and wondered, why am I not affected the same way?  

I confessed to the Lord and prayed and asked for His help on how to reconcile this "problem", as this is my home church.  Then as the praise verses were being repeated again and again, the Lord prompted me to use that time to pray and "talk to Him and thank Him" as my "spiritual sacrifice of worship".  This helped me personally not to become distracted, but to focus on worshiping God in a way that "brought me into His presence".  

"LORD Jesus, be thou with us now,
As in thy house in prayer we bow;
And when we sing, and when we pray, 
Help us to mean the words we say,
Help us to listen to thy Word
And keep our thoughts from wondering, Lord"

Edith Florence Boyle Macalister, 1873-1950

It is okay that those who prefer singing hymns are "drawn into the Lord's presence" by traditional means, and it is also okay, that those who sing praise songs are "ushered into God's presence" by modern music.  As long as whatever worship setting a person finds themselves in, whether it be their style or not, they find a way to worship God in the moment "despite the music" and not become distracted.

On the ride home from church, I told my husband about my "revelation" and I did ask him again, but "What about us 'old people'?...  

In my personal opinion, I do feel that we are underestimating the "younger set" by not exposing them to the richness of many of the wonderful hymns.  I understand that many modern churches today do incorporate some of the "popular" hymns with a more upbeat tempo so that the words are being sung and learned by younger people which is good.  But - there are entire hymnals of songs that are wholly God-centered, rich in meaning, scripture and doctrine that teach about our Lord and Savior.  As I listen to some of the modern praise songs, they seem to be more "me-centered" and not rich in content.  I want to clarify that I certainly understand there are modern praise songs with very meaningful words that are extremely edifying, and I am by no means broad brushing the entire genre.  

As I was seeking insight from the Bible on this matter, I found a verse that certainly supports modern praise songs, "...singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves and making music to the Lord in your hearts". Ephesians 5:19 NLT 

Barnes' Notes on the Bible says of Ephesians 5:19, "The Psalms of David were sung by the Jews at the temple, and by the early Christians, and the singing of those psalms has constituted a delightful part of public worship in all ages. They speak the language of devotion at all times..."

I would certainly say that modern praise songs definitely seem to emphasize devotion to God with the lyrics and repeated choruses expressing just that.

The following verse supports the doctrines of the hymns, "Let 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." Colossians 3:16

Matthew Henry's commentary says of Colossians 3:16, "But, when we sing psalms, we make no melody unless we sing with grace in our hearts, unless we are suitably affected with what we sing and go along in it with true devotion and understanding. (This portion certainly speaks to my convicting experience at church on Sunday when I realized I was not "suitably affected" in "true devotion" by the praise songs which conviction led to my "singing with grace in my heart through prayer".)

Matthew Henry continued his commentary of Colossians 3:16 by stating, "Singing of Psalms is a teaching ordinance as well as a praising ordinance; and we are not only to quicken and encourage ourselves, but to teach and admonish one another, mutually excite our affections, and convey instructions. All must be done in the name of Christ." 

In our childhood years, many of the basics are best taught through song, such as the ABC's.  And... we learn lyrics to songs so easily because of the melody. Just think of the rich doctrine and scripture verses that can be learned and hidden in the hearts of those who sing the great hymns!

With the trend of the modern church's view on worship style and the virtual elimination of hymns, I am concerned at what cost will this come to us "old people" and even the youth...



You might find me on these link-ups:
Grace & Truth Link-up, Woman to Woman Ministries,  Growing in Grace Link-up, Titus 2 Tuesday Link-up



Comments

  1. I agree with you! I grew up in a traditional Lutheran environment - we sang hymns that had dust on them! (sorry that's how us kids looked at it) but look at david - his dancing and singing before the Lord must not have been "acceptable" in his day - but he did not care - but I do agree - some christian rock is just that - glorified rock concerts - designed to sell records. I tend to gravitate to the old country hymns my grandmother listened to on the grand ole opry. But, she did secretly like Elvis gospel - even though we weren't allowed any of his "rock" music in the house! :)

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    1. Thanks for sharing your story. Great point about David! Like in all things, God looks to the heart for our motivation.

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