Thursday, September 29, 2011

A Curmudgeon's Lament

My Free Space group is working through a study on God's grace and last night our leader had us close by singing "Amazing Grace." There weren't many of us, and none has a voice that is more than passable, but the melody and message stayed in my head all night and woke me this morning.

In the world of church music, I am a curmudgeon. I have been dragged into the world of contemporary Christian music much as I have been dragged into the world of pre-made pie crusts: Everyone else is doing it so it must be the right thing even if what we're making doesn't seem to be as good as what we used to have.

Reading the words written by a reformed slave trader so many years ago, though, made me remember what I love about my favorite hymns. A Mighty Fortress Is Our God. Love Divine, All Loves Excelling. Come, Ye Thankful People, Come. Great Is Thy Faithfulness. They are not only tradition (which, I confess, I love) but are solid explanations of a theology to which I adhere: God's grace has brought me safe thus far, and it will lead me home.

By contrast, I find most praise music the equivalent of those teen-aged girls you see hanging around in the mall--beautiful and stylish, deeply emotional, but tending toward the shallow and mind-numbingly repetitious.

That isn't to say I don't appreciate the mall girls. They can be fresh and cute, they're usually inoffensive, and they often make me smile. They may even grow up to be wise and wonderful adults. But if I want depth or something that prompts me to think, "Yes, this is what I believe," I go to my old hymnbook.

Its message is amazing.

No comments:

Post a Comment