Monday, October 28, 2013

When We Gather Together

This post is adapted from a post that originally appeared on my blog. I had started this post before I read Persis's excellent post that covered similar ground. Here's my take on the subject.

When it comes to the music we use in worship, I can honestly say I have no real preference. I grew up in a church where we sang the great hymns of the faith accompanied by an honest-to-goodness pipe organ. At Sunday night youth group we sang “Pass It On” and “Peace Like a River.” I visited my grandparents’ church where everything was sung a cappella. I attended regional youth rallies where the worship leader was an up-and-coming songwriter named Rich Mullins. Each scenario has its own appeal, and I would be hard pressed to pick a favorite.

I don’t share this as a claim to any sort of moral superiority, but to illustrate that my age and childhood situations make me sort of an oddity. I’m like a well-socialized puppy. I’ve been put in a lot of different situations, so I’m not likely to bite out of fear. And because of that, I’m baffled that the music wars have become such an issue. Seriously? We live in a condemned world. Our freedom of speech is being increasingly muzzled. Countries that once sent scores of missionaries to the unreached world are trying to silence people from preaching the gospel. But lets get the music thing hammered out. I suppose one side could arm itself with electric guitars and the other side with hymnbooks and we could hold a cage match.

The contemporary worship people need to realize that the hymnbooks contain some rich, beautiful songs. The hymnbook people need to realize that there are some great new songs being written. And as for the complaints about the repetition in contemporary worship music, go read Psalm 136.

So while I’m on my pulpit, let me bring in some scripture.
The crowd joined in the attack against Paul and Silas, and the magistrates ordered them to be stripped and beaten. After they had been severely flogged, they were thrown into prison, and the jailer was commanded to guard them carefully. Upon receiving such orders, he put them in the inner cell and fastened their feet in the stocks. About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. (Acts 16:22-25)
Paul and Silas had been flogged, placed in stocks, and put in jail. This was not the pristine holding cell of “The Andy Griffith Show,” but a first century prison. It was dirty. There was no indoor plumbing. They had open sores along their backs, and it’s quite unlikely that they had received any sort of medical treatment. And yet they sang praises to God.

Can we do that? Is our worship that sincere and independent of our circumstances?

Or our are we so busy trying to justify our personal preferences that we completely miss the point?


  1. Staci, when I wrote my post, I nearly mentioned Paul and Silas' impromptu hymn sing in jail. They are a perfect example of worship that's based on the truth of who God is and not circumstances.

  2. Being able to praise Him in the storm (which by the way Praise Him in the Storm is a wonderful contemporary christian song that speaks such great truth!) as well as on a clear beautiful day when all is going well is very important in our walk with Christ. thanks for sharing this today!

  3. I love your post. I so agree with what you expressed. I am age 49. I'm middle of the road with the worship style. I can be happy in a contemporary worship service or in a traditional type service. My husband and I joined earlier this year a very small traditional worship church. Our pastor is age 28. I sing in the choir with 10 other people. I'm one of 5 sopranos. I love it! Almost all our songs are traditional hymnal songs. Our worship service consists of an organ and piano. I'm so glad you pointed out about Paul and Silas when they worshiped God while in jail. This is a lesson for all of us, no matter where I am or what is going on around me I can and will worship Jesus Christ.