Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Oh...so it wasn't the music

Once upon a time I went to a little Lutheran Church (ELCA)in a small farm town. It was a safe, sleepy little town and the church was much the same. There were many families who went whose great-grandparents were some of the first families in the area and had helped to build the church. There was much tradition and great loyalty. I really liked going to church there for the most part. It was within walking distance from my house, which was good considering my parents didn't go to church. The choir director was my piano teachers, about 80% of the teachers from my school went there, I was good friends with the pastor and his family-it short it felt homey. What I didn't like was the music. Organ and piano with hymns sung out of the Luthran Book of Worship. Songs that I came to fondly refer to as BLH's-boring lutheran hymns. They all felt so dead and lifeless and most of the time it felt like we were singing funeral durges instead of praises to our God. Then the non-denominational church and the praise band came into my life. Wow, it was like night and day between the two music styles. It finally felt like the music was really praising God, like the congregation was alive and wanted to worship joyfully. For many years I went to non-denominational churches and was generally a part of the worship team (or whatever it was called in that particular church). I really loved the modern worship music. I thought that the style of the music was what made it feel alive and like the congregation was truly worshiping. I really believed that back in my old lutheran church the hymns were the problem and if they just had better music it would be fixed.One sunday we visited a new church. Although this church wasn't as heavily liturgical as the lutheran one, it was still much more traditional than any I had been to recently. And, they sang hymns. Going in I thought that it would be great to visit this one Sunday and then the next week I would be back to singing "Shout to the Lord" in the band. Boy was I wrong. It was all different than before-the hymns were joyful praises to God sung by a congregation who truly loved Him. It was all the same songs from my first church, but they all sounded so different. That's when it hit me....so it wasn't the music afterall. Praising God joyfully in song has nothing to do with the style of the music used, but the hearts of the worshipers. Worshipping in spirit and in truth doesn't require a set of drums or an organ for that matter. It requires a heart that is right with God.

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