I’ know I’m not alone, though sometimes it feels like it. I remember standing next to someone in church who sang a different word than the song called for, obviously in disagreement with the lyric. I happen not to like that song either for a similar reason if not the same one. Do we even think about what we’re singing? Is it any better to sing a lie than to just speak it? Maybe it’s worse because of the power that music has to influence us.
Some lyrics are just weird. “There is a fountain filled with blood?” Really? Christians understand the symbolism in that phrase, but how does it sound to someone with no knowledge of the faith? To them it’s just disgusting. Frankly, I agree with them, and it’s not true. Jesus paid for our sins with His blood. It is good to memorialize that sacrifice in song, but thank God there’s no bloody fountain we all have to dive into.
Then there’s just plain bad theology. A specific example isn’t coming to mind at the moment, but if you pay attention I’m sure you will spot it. We can find it in the hymns and we can find it in our modern worship. Maybe it agrees with that of the church where we’re going or maybe it doesn’t. The latter is probably true more than we would like to think. The trouble is we don’t think. We just sing. Maybe we even like the song because it makes us feel good.
The songs that get to me the most are those with narcissistic lyrics. Two in particular come to mind. Whenever I sing them I leave out the offending word and phrase. These are the songs that over personalize what Jesus did on the cross. I don’t dispute the idea that if only one of us needed saving He would have done it just for the one. I think that’s true, though if there’s anyone for whom I might doubt it, I am that person. But he didn’t give his life “just for me.” He gave it for everyone who would call on His name. He didn’t think of “me above all.” If anyone was “above all” it was our Heavenly Father. Was He thinking of us? We can get that from scripture. After all, it was us for whom He died. We can take that very personally, but let’s keep to the truth in His word. Let’s be sure we are glorifying Jesus rather than ourselves.
Do you think about what you’re singing? Have you ever refused to sing something that you didn’t believe to be true? Do you think I’m just a legalist? Write me back.