February 22, 2011

Do the Words We Use in Worship and Prayer Really Matter? [I have discovered from my recent tweets about the language of our worship and prayer that while many agree, several are confused. Some wonder why this fascination with the old and the traditional. Others think I'm simply an unlikely champion of the "good ole hymns." In an attempt to provoke more discussions amongst yourselves-- worship leaders, worship teams, songwriters, etc-- I have formulated the three most frequent objections I've heard...and I've attempted a response. If my response is severe, it's because I believe the issue is.] "Worship songs" are not just "expressions of our hearts to God", they shape what we believe about God. In the first 1600 years or so, few dared to write "their own songs" for congregational worship. The first prayers and songs of the Church were Psalms (prayers they learned as Jewish children) reframed around Christ. By the end of the 1st century we see a few creedal formulas surface, many of which are quoted in Paul's letters. Later, when more songs and liturgies were written, they were carefully worded by theologians like John Chrysostom in the 4th century (whose liturgy the Orthodox Church still sings!) and much later, Luther in the 16th century. For many centuries after the Reformation, songs written for public worship had to have words taken directly from Scripture. Today, we are loose about it. We sit down-- and I say "we" because I have been guilty of this-- and try to write a song based on what's in our hearts, what we want to say, what my Church wants to sing...all of which may be OK if they are subservient to the larger question, "What is true about God?" Still, some insist... 1. "It's the Heart that Counts." Tell that to Nadab and Abihu-- you know, the guys who offered a...

Glenn Packiam

Lead Pastor, new life DOWNTOWN, New Life Church, Colorado Springs, CO. Author and songwriter.

The Typepad Team

Recent Comments