Do we mean what we sing...?

An old High School friend of mine who is a Baptist minister now, recently shared this video on Facebook.  I sometimes find myself singing the hymns in church wondering, "Do we really mean this...do I?" which generally leads me into prayer for a deeper desire for holiness and openness to sanctifying grace.  That is to say, what I see in the video is not just "those churches," it is me.

The video itself is pretty funny, but (like most good humor) it makes a deadly serious point.  Most of the songs in the video itself are "contemporary" songs of praise.  But, lest anyone take me for some "let's just do the old stuff we've always done" sort of conservative, let it be known that I am a great fan of traditional as well as modern and new music (and every song was new at some point).  I've tried to say before that I believe it is deeply important for us Methodists to recover our great liturgy (that found in our Hymnal and our Book of Worship) with its Anglican and Ancient Christian roots, (which is clearly not what many of our Methodist churches have "always done") and I don't see any contradiction between classic liturgy and modern music (or contemporary musical settings for old hymn texts - I love those).

In fact, most of the songs lampooned in this video are praise songs I rather like to sing (so this is not intended as a knock against new songs), and indeed someone could make a very similar video using some of our old revival hymns too (and there are one or two in this video); though it is worth noting that many of the Ancient and Reformation hymns do not lend themselves to this sort of spoof because they only sing about who God is, not what I will do, feel, or commit.  Consider, for example in Luther's great hymn, 'A Mighty Fortress is our God': God simply is a Mighty Fortress who sent his Son to defeat Satan, whether or not I even believe in him.

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