Sunday, February 12, 2017

Worship questions and concerns

This post is mostly going to serve as a quick 'n' dirty list of blogs that are (hopefully) helping me answer questions related to lyrics in worship music. So, not much discussion, though I'd love that in the comment section. Really, this is almost more of a bookmarking than a blog, but I digress.

I've been hugely frustrated by the amount of, what John Wesley called, 'amatory' phrasing, or phrasing that is based primarily on emotion and feeling. My immediate concern is regarding lyrics by Rend Collective, called "Alabaster." Here are the lyrics below (problematic lyrics emphasized by me):

I am broken at Your feet
Like an alabaster jar
Every piece of who I am
Laid before Your majesty

I will bow my life
At Your feet, at Your feet
My lips, so lost for words
Will kiss Your feet, kiss Your feet

Oh, the gravity of You
Draws my soul unto its knees
I will never be the same
I am lost and found in You

"...I will bow my life"

Yes, Scripture states that at the name of Jesus, every knee will bow and tongue confess that Jesus is Lord. Psalm 86 has been touted as a proof-text for using oodles of personal pronouns and personal ideas in corporate worship. The problem with that is, can't a Jew sing the same thing? What is it about Psalm 86 that directly applies to believers in Jesus, as one of the above-mentioned bloggers asked? Charles Spurgeon rightly states about verse 1, for instance, "In condescension to my littleness, and in pity to my weakness, "bow down thine ear, O Lord." In other words, my littleness, compared to God's bigness. In general, and has been stated by others commenters, Psalm 86 has a crystal-clear focus - God's preserving and governing. He alone is the one who holds us. While I am not necessarily in favor of using that phrase (which often comes across as come romantic embrace), it is God who upholds my faith in Him, not myself. Philipians 2:12-13 seems to give the proper balance: "Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure" (emphasis mine).

And, secondly - are we threatening to bow our lives, or has he already commanded it? The ole' King James didn't always put will in those statements. I believe this should be more properly rendered, "I bow my life."

"...My lips, so lost for words/Will kiss Your feet, kiss Your feet"

There are some phrases that are more personal intimate in nature and should be kept that way. I believe this is one of them. While the Song of Songs does use kissing, there is no place in the New Testament, save the place this song references (Mary washing Jesus feet with her tears) where the corporate church will kiss Jesus' feet. Jesus very clearly states that what this woman has done will be spoken of as a memorial to her. In more places, the church will be given crowns and will immediately remove them and give them to Jesus. Also, I think given the current cultural environment, the church would do well to abstain from such phraseology until believers and unbelievers alike are better educated on the use of intimacy as it relates to Christ and His bride. It can easily be misconstrued as romantic, rather than what Solomon and the gospel writers intended.

I'm sure this entire article will be taken as being too divisive in the Christian church. Yet, I am told by Holy Writ to "contend earnestly for the faith once delivered to the saints" (Jude 3, emphasis mine).

Please leave a comment below. Comments featuring filthy language will be banned. I welcome open dialogue about this all-too-important subject.

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