Worship Songs

Blessed be Your name in the land that is plentiful
Where Your streams of abundance flow, Blessed be Your Name
Blessed be Your name when I’m found in the desert place
Though I walk through the wilderness, Blessed be Your Name

-From “Blessed by Your name,” Tree 63

Give me one pure and holy passion
Give me one magnificent obsession
Give me one glorious ambition for me life
To know an follow hard after you.

-From “Give me one Pure and Holy Passion”

Word of God speak Would You pour down like rain
Washing my eyes to see Your majesty
To be still and know That You’re in this place
Please let me stay and rest In Your holiness
Word of God speak

-From “Word of God Speak,” By Mercy Me

What would our lives look like if we said that God’s name is blessed in both the seasons of “abundance” and the seasons of “wilderness” or if we had just “one pure and holy passion?” Do we really want to hear the word of God speak? I’m tired of easy answers. I grew up hearing a line similar to this: If we read the words of a worship song and we aren’t living it out we should sing it with a heart of worship (i.e. we should let God know this is where we want to be, but, for whatever reason, we are not yet there). But is a desire for change enough? Let us ask us this question: Why is there poverty in places of America with the largest concentration of churches? Any poverty in any place where the church already is seems somewhat contradictory. Did not God tell us to look after the orphans and the widows?

As most people who know me well know, one of my favorite books of the Bible is Ecclesiastes. Read his words:

Guard your steps as you go to the house of God and draw near to listen rather than to offer the sacrifice of fools; for they do not know they are doing evil. Do not be hasty in word or impulsive in thought to bring up a matter in the presence of God. For God is in heaven and you are on the earth; therefore let your words be few. For the dream comes through much effort and the voice of a fool through many words. When you make a vow to God, do not be late in paying it; for He takes no delight in fools. Pay what you vow! It is better that you should not vow than that you should vow and not pay. Do not let your speech cause you to sin and do not say in the presence of the messenger of God that it was a mistake. Why should God be angry on account of your voice and destroy the work of your hands? For in many dreams and in many words there is emptiness. Rather, fear God.”

-Ecclesiastes 5:1-7

In church services I have often seen people quick to make promises. At camps I was quick to see people make promises to God. I do not think the author of Ecclesiastes would have encouraged such activities. Should we really be making promises at the end of a mountain top experience? The text challenges us to two things: (1) Take seriously the vows you make to God (to this point Jesus said we should not even make vows. Rather, we should simply do what we say we will do). (2) We should learn to be silent before God. We should learn that God does not delight in good prayer. God created the lips and all the sounds that come out of them. We should not worry about voice inflexion. Some of these things may be important in some senses, but in a real sense we must learn to search for God in all things. And we must not make promises so quickly to a God who does not forget.

Next time I enter worship I am not going to sing until I’ve considered the words. I will prayerfully consider the words that I am singing and look to see if I am living them in my life. I will not be so quick to speak before my Father in Heaven. Perhaps we should stop singing such heavy promises to God. I remember when I was a Senior in high school listening to one of my best friends sing a song by Jennifer Knapp for our choir class. The song was called “Peace.” Perhaps the best thing we can do is simply come to God looking for peace. Realizing finally that peace is not a feeling, but a way of living—bring the Shalom of his holy name into the world by loving him and loving others.

Peace – Jennifer Knapp

He is my Light and my Salvation
Whom have I to fear
In His secret place I’ll hide and pray
That I might hear a simple word

O, how I would have despaired
If You had not come found me there
I can lean against Your throne and find my Peace
Find my Peace

And when my enemies draw near
I pray that they will find
That I’m protected and secure
All tempests He will bind with a mighty word

O, how I would have despaired
If You had not come found me there
I can lean against You throne and find my Peace
Find my Peace
He is my Light and my Salvation whom have I to fear?


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