Let me begin by getting a couple of things clear here at the get-go, as a disclaimer of sorts:
1) My life has been profoundly blessed, shaped, enriched (insert any number of endless positive adjectives here) by the modern worship movement. Parts of it bother me, but I’m learning to be more generous – and that’s not even the point – point is, my life with God has been strengthened because of what has happened globally with the worship industry. (“worship industry”, thank you capitalism.)
2) I am a part of that industry, albeit, in a majorly, minor way. I’ve had a few songs published, but hardly anyone knows them or sings them, thus, majorly, minor.
I was sitting in my office a couple months ago reading the book of Exodus, and in a moment that has become all too common, a passage that I had read no less than a dozen times previously, hit me like a loaded dump truck – one filled with awe and laughter.
The passage was Exodus 15, which is the basically the song that Moses and Miriam sang immediately after they walked through the Red Sea on dry ground and the greatest military in all of the world was drowned behind them.
Side note: What would posses the Egyptian army to actually go into the sea after Moses and the Hebrews anyway? Wouldn’t the dry ground and walls of water on the left and right actually be a deterrent? I mean, you have to know how this thing is gonna end right? Had they already forgotten about the river of blood and the frogs and the flies and the death angel?
Side, side note: Therein lies the problem with being deceived – you don’t actually know it.
Side, side, side note: God please be gracious to me!
Side, side, side, side note: one day I’ll have a band called Moses and the Hebrews
Take a minute and read it. I timed it – you can do it in less than three minutes. Click HERE.
Now, Imagine singing those lyrics at your church on Sunday morning!
2 “The LORD is my strength and my defense;
he has become my salvation.
That’s a great line! Things like this are probably sung a million times all around the world every Sunday morning.
3 The LORD is a warrior;
the LORD is his name.
That’s a little different, but I like it. It’s fresh. Yeah, fresh! And the men will love it – they have had to sing too many sappy love songs to Jesus anyway.
The best of Pharaoh’s officers are drowned in the Red Sea.
The deep waters have covered them;
they sank to the depths like a stone.
Is this the sign that we’re becoming a hardcore church? Are we all gonna have to wear eyeliner and scream till our vocal chords are raw hamburger? Are we moving out a few chairs for the mosh pit? Is Billy Corgan gonna be the new pastor? (did I come of age in the 90’s, yes I did – 10 points for noticing)
Imagine singing this at your church on Sunday – with all the visitors – right before communion.
Now imagine singing this with Moses and Miriam and a couple million of your best friends looking over an ocean that has just become a tomb for your enemies!
Experience makes all the difference.
Sometimes I wonder if the lack of creativity, both melodically and lyrically, within the church isn’t because we’ve failed to write out of our actual life experience? David wrote “the Lord is my shepherd” because those happened to be the the lyrics of his life.
I wonder if insecurity keeps us from seeing God in our midst while fueling copy-cat, derivative song ideas and lyrics?
Will there be threads of similarity? You bet! We’re all worshipping the same Father, Son and Holy Spirit – but his workings in our lives and in our churches are as diverse as the stars in the sky.
A couple more questions
What is God doing in your life? In the life of your church?
Where has there been victory in your life? In the life of your church?
What has caused you tears? Where is the pain?
Wherever God is working, wherever there is victory, wherever there are tears – there are songs! Don’t be afraid to write them!