MusicMonday

i've been a part of 'church' since birth.  i was not only raised going to church, but also raised in the home of a pastor.  in addition, my mother was either the pianist/organist/choir director/worship leader/accompanist or combination of several of these things at varying times during my life at home and in the church.  therefore i suppose it comes as no surprise that i have a deep-seated love for hymns. not only hymns but spiritual, spirit-filled songs that have their roots in the Word of God.  well, maybe that does come as a surprise to some. i know many (too many) people that have not maintained a love for 'those kinds of songs' as they've gotten older.   it saddens me to think of those that have come to the conclusion that those songs were for then, not now.  that those songs represent a time in history and should remain in the past. that those songs are relics of a period of time,  heirlooms and artifacts belonging to yesterday.  i disagree with my whole heart.

this is not a debate or discussion about musical tastes, or the stylistic preferences of people.  believe me when i say, my stylistic preferences veer heavily away from the traditional organ music that most likely accompanied hymns in the early days.  my musical tastes lean loudly in the direction of pop, rock, r+b, and hip-hop and i firmly believe in multiple genres of music.  but i also earnestly believe in music that has it's roots in the WORD.  and the weight of the words of early hymns cannot be denied or ignored,  should not be forgotten or shoved aside.

in both Ephesians 5 and in Colossians 3 Paul admonishes us to utilize the arts to communicate with each other. first in his letter to the Ephesians he says: "SPEAK to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs' and then in the letter to Colossians we read: "SING psalms, hymns and spiritual songs".  in both passages he is telling us to communicate with each other in this way.  i doubt he meant for us to go around literally singing to each other like we are all living in a Rogers and Hammerstein extravaganza.... although, there are some of us that would gladly adopt that whole idea!  rather, i tend to think he meant for us to keep the important truths at hand. up front. readily available to share. in song? yeah, maybe sometimes.  i mean, music has meant an awful lot to people. it continues to be a source of strength and inspiration, giving glimpses of hope and happiness and enabling people to see things and hear things and believe things that help them get up. get back up. get back up.

side note*: i'm not saying don't listen to secular music ever.  (and i know that some will disagree with me on that.. you're entitled to your opinion).  as a singer and songwriter, there is much inspiration to be found in the world... but i'm a firm believer that God is the original author of it all.  he is the giver of every gift. whether those gifts are used to point back to him or not is the choice of the gifted.  you have a choice too.  to use your gifts to honor and glorify the God that gave them to you is up to you.

when we are filled with the Spirit we are filled with the truth.  i think God knew all along that when songs are full of faith they have an impact.  a lasting impact.  i believe Paul was/is encouraging believers to be so full of faith and truth and love for the Lord, so affected by it, that their/our conversations and songs were/are naturally effective in communicating that faith, truth and love.  it should all just spill over into each and every thing, into each and every encounter.

i love the words of 'His Eye is on the Sparrow'. the third verse says:

whenever i am tempted
whenever clouds arise
when SONGS GIVE WAY TO SIGHING
when hope within me dies

i draw the closer to him
from care he sets me free
His eye is on the sparrow
i know he watches me

songs are sung in both grief and gladness, in both sorrow and celebration.  ultimately what i love so much about hymns...as in the Psalms... is that desperation always leads to redemption.  because that is the truth of who God is.  his way is wholeness.  his will is for our good.

so my point in all this is to remind you of these couple of passages:
Ephesians 5:19 and Colossians 3:16

and also to remind you of the value of lyrics of truth. don't forget them. don't forsake them. rather, remember them, teach them to your kids. learn them if you never have before. let the songs from yesterday become a part of today.  there is much to learn from those writers that have gone before us. i feel like i have a ton of homework to do! especially in this current season of writing for a new project, hymns and their history provide an endless supply of inspiration and encouragement.

i keep a hymnal with my stack of devotionals and i reference it often. i encourage you to do the same. you can probably find one at a used book store for next to nothing... but it's worth isn't in the price tag, it's in the treasure of truth found inside...because hymns ARE heirlooms!  precious gifts that we MUST pass down from generation to generation.