Monday, August 20, 2012

Two Types of Worship Songs

Here's a quick little thought on two types of worship songs, both of which are necessary for your worship experience. (BTW, I'm talking about lyrical content and not minor chords, half-time, or reverb. Though I do enjoy a mean delay...)

First, there are songs that we sing primarily about God- who He is and what he has done. In these songs, we sing and recognize theological, doctrinal, and historical truths about God and Christianity. (Generally, hymns focus more deeply on such content.) It is helpful to note that these items are true regardless of our experience, feelings, or passion. I can always sing "Jesus paid it all / all to him I owe / sin had left a crimson stain / he washed it white as snow." This is always objectively true.

Second, there are songs that we sing about our experience, our thoughts, and our feelings about God. These are things that generally should be true of the Christian experience, but depending on the specific lyric they may or may not be at that moment. (Many more modern songs are focused in this direction.) "Falling on my knees in worship / Giving all I am to seek your face / Lord, all I am is Yours." In these songs, we sing about our subjective feelings and professions to God.

A few thoughts on these types of lyrical content in our worship songs. First of all, these aren't mutually exclusive. Some songs mix the two, as they sing deep theological truths and then sing about our experience (How Great Thou Art comes to mind...). Secondly, the Psalms display both focuses in their lyrics, sometimes in the same Psalm (Psalm 145 for example). Lastly, I'm not saying one song type is superior to the other. Just as in the Christian walk, our worship songs need to focus on theological truth AND the experience of that truth in our daily lives. Both are necessary for a healthy life, and therefore, both are necessary for a healthy worship style.