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Truth in Singing

Truth in Singing

By Rod Ellis on March 26, 2013

I recently read a blog post from a pastor I admire a great deal. He expressed concern that we examine carefully the lyrics we choose to use in worship. I share his concern.

The particular objection he raised was that we shouldn’t sing words we don’t believe.

I resonate with that. Quite a bit actually. You probably do too. We’ve all seen the email poking fun at some of our hymns texts... like “I Surrender Some” instead of “I Surrender All.”

Still... I resonate.

And then I remember real life. I read the Psalms. I recall times of unbelief, of questioning, of wrestling in my own journey.

And I am so grateful to have attended worship gatherings where I could sing songs I believed once but struggled to do so in the moment. I needed to be reminded of Christian-Biblical truth so I could believe it again.

I guess this is where I depart from that pastor’s perspective.

For the addict who fell off the wagon on Saturday we should still plan “My chains are gone, I’ve been set free.”

For the depressed who feel enveloped by darkness we should still sing “Though darkness fills the night / It cannot hide the light.”

For those who feel unlovable when they walk in we must give them a chance to remind themselves, “[God’s] love never fails it never gives up it never runs out on me.”

For many of us who walk in the room overwhelmed by condemnation we need to be reminded that “All condemned feel no shame at the sound of [God’s] great name.”

And when nothing seems like it will satisfy us--mentally, emotionally, physically--it sure helps us to be able to sing “The riches of Your love will always be enough,” because truth is, “Nothing compares to [God’s] embrace.”

Finally, when fear seems to have us tightly bound--whether we claim to walk with Jesus or not--how incredibly liberating to declare: “For through your suffering, I am free!”

I want to sing lyrics because I believe them. But sometimes I have to sing them until I believe them.

That’s why we need to choose texts that are honest and true, for those times when we walk in the church house deceived. We need to remember. And walk away realigned to truth.

Thank you for faithfully helping your church remember!

Songs referenced...

“Amazing Grace: My Chains Are Gone” by Chris Tomlin | John Newton | Louie Giglio 
“God of Angel Armies” by Chris Tomlin | Ed Cash | Scott Cash
“One Thing Remains” by Brian Johnson | Christa Gifford | Jeremy Riddle
“Your Great Name” by Krissy Nordhoff | Michael Neale
“Forever Reign” by Jason Ingram | Reuben Morgan
“The Power of the Cross” by Keith Getty | Stuart Townend

-guest post by Rod Ellis

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