Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Songs, worship, and the end of our lives

Today I went and visited a long time Christian who is in hospice care and is nearing her end in life. She talked about some of her favorite memories, such as the time her husband came back to the church and various times she served the Lord.

The rest of the time, though, we spent listening to and singing old hymns. Someone had sent a CD of these hymns with me to give to her, and when these songs started playing, it really spoke to her. We both sang "Burdens Are Lifted at Calvary" and many other old songs together. Clearly, these were comforting to her, and was quite an experience for me as well.

It struck me once again how each generation has songs that they know and love. Older generations love songs like "I Come to the Garden Alone," Boomers love songs like "As the Deer," and younger generations love songs like "Lord, Reign in Me." We really should try to teach one another to love and appreciate the lyrics, melodies, and styles that speak to each generation, rather than insisting upon our own way all the time. Those who are most prepared to sacrifice--the supposedly mature--should sacrifice the most, while not leaving any group totally behind. Songs are our heart language, which is why they are so important to us. I know I was glad I was able to sing "Burdens Are Lifted at Calvary" today.

What songs speak to you?


eric said...

that is such a good point james, i being of the younger generation love it when newer songs are sang but alot of the older songs have amazing depth in the lyrics.mmaybe we could try to get someone to lead some more diverse worship services, i know that i have a youth group song book and i know most of the songs i could teach to any of the song leaders.i hope i am not overstepping my bounds.

James said...


It's great to hear from you. Yes, I think it would be good to teach the congregation some songs that the younger people sing. There are so many new songs today--many more than a song book could keep up with.

Song books are now like printed encyclopedias--they are out of date as soon as they are printed. That is why people now go online for encyclopedias and dictionaries. There is still value in the older songs, but many of the new are missing from them.

So I would say, offer to teach some new songs to the song leaders, and if you have particular ones, get with me and I'll try to work with them as well. Most of the time people are not trying to be exclusive, they just sing what they know or what we have music for.

I'm glad you also see value in some of the lyrics of older songs. There is value in both kinds.

Thanks for sharing!