A pastor who led a worship team at a local church introduced himself as one who works in the “war department.” It seemed to be a “given” that whatever style of music was prayerfully chosen for the worship service, someone in attendance was offended.
I personally love to learn new songs of praise and worship. I love guitars. I love drums. I love loud. I’m learning to raise my hands and sometimes even move. Maybe someday I will dance.
I also love the hymns. That is not a popular confession because for some it connotes an unwillingness to change, an inflexible attitude, a blindness to the obvious disconnect for our younger generations. This is especially true if the hymns are sung in the original style with the original tune and where the second verse does not lose its identity.
I want to write about this, not to further agitate a relentless controversy but to suggest that it’s not about the hymns.
I recognized this when I downloaded the hymn, The Old Rugged Cross,* and the newer worship song, The Power of the Cross,** together on my Ipod. As I listened, I realized I really liked both songs.
Still, The Old Rugged Cross stirred my heart in a deeper way. Not because it is a better song but because I grew up singing it. And as I sang it in our little country church and around the fire at camp, it became a window through which I saw more of Jesus.
The connection to the hymns is not to the hymns themselves but to the memories that flood my heart: pictures that remind me of my childhood, faith in our Lord Jesus Christ and His walking through my life with me.
We must not ask our younger generation to meet Jesus through these now faded windows. We must take delight in the newly designed glass that enables them to see Him, hear His beating heart and run to Him.
It’s not about the hymns, it’s about HIM!!
*Old Rugged Cross, Words & Music: George Bennard, 1913
** The Power of the Cross, Words & Music by Keith Getty & Stuart Townend, 2005