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Sing a New Song!

I’m a huge lover of Christian music. We all have our own preferences, of course, but when it comes to worship (in my private time at home, or at church) I love any song that pulls me into the throne room and quiets my heart from outside noise. I love the songs that are horizontal (songs about Him) and vertical (songs to Him). I just love it all.

Recently I had a conversation with a friend about modern worship music. There’s been a lot of critique over the style, substance (or seeming lack thereof), and repetitive nature of many of the songs we sing on Sunday mornings. One common critique going around is that worship leaders manipulate congregations with crescendos. They know just when to add the rise and fall of a song to get people emotionally invested.

My question is. . .”And?” Every writer worth his weight in salt knows how to plot. I teach writers how to plot their novels. Songwriters have always known how to add highs and lows to a song to gain an emotional response.

Don’t believe me?

Head on over to page 287 of your hymnal and check out the chorus of “How Great Thou Art.” Crescendo, crescendo, crescendo. . .plummet to a soft response, then crescendo again. This is how it’s done. Think back to all of your favorite hymns. They build. They fall. They ebb. They flow. And (gasp) many of them are repetitive, as well. And they were written by people who, in their own generations, probably weren’t well received, either.

Speaking of generations, I’m currently leading a small group made up mostly of teens and our topic is biblical creativity. From week to week we’ve talked about all of the various art forms. I’ve got some talented artists, singers, writers, etc. in our group. But on the week when we covered music in depth, I kept stumbling across the same scripture: “Sing a new song.” This phrase appears dozens of times in the Bible.

So, why does God ask us to sing a new song?

What’s the point of it? I shared with the group that when we go through seasons of renewal He puts a new song in our hearts because He wants us to sing out of that new place, filled with joy over the work He’s done in our hearts.

So, consider this: IF it’s true that God says (repeatedly) to sing a new song and IF this current generation is genuinely hearing from God, penning the songs He’s giving them, do we really want to interrupt that process with our opinions, however right we think we might be?

Their songs might not be our cup of tea, but shouldn’t we be grateful that God is still speaking and 21st century musicians are still listening and writing what they hear by the Holy Spirit? I have four very musical daughters and several grandchildren who are musical, as well. If any one of them wrote a worship song I didn’t care for it, would I roll my eyes or weep tears of joy that they were listening to God and responding to His call?

This generation has been tasked with singing their new song. And the generation that comes next? They will do the same. I, for one, want a heart SO filled with gratitude for those who are using their gifts that I spend more time encouraging and training than critiquing.

Colossians 3:16: Sing the psalms, compose hymns and songs inspired by the Spirit, and keep on singing—sing to God from hearts full and spilling over with thankfulness.

Psalm 40:3: He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God!

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