You’ll have seen a latest YouTube video entitled “Evolution of Worship Music”. On this video, David Wesley with 5 duplicate variations of himself covers virtually 1500 years of Christian music in stunning A Cappella kind.
Listening to his stunning medley, I used to be reminded of a dialog I had after a latest sermon. As a sermon illustration, I used the wonderful story of Horatio Spafford and the phrases of his highly effective hymn “When Peace Like a River (It is Well)”. And after the sermon, I had somebody come as much as me and say one thing alongside the strains that, “the story is great, but wouldn’t it be better for us to now just keep singing the modern version [by Kristene DiMarco and Bethel].”
I want I had David Wesley’s video at that time to precise the worth of singing previous songs. Now let me lay my playing cards on the desk and say I totally love fashionable renditions of older hymns, and I like the wealth of unique worship and reward music we have now in the present day. As a 30-something, it’s what I grew up with and all I knew about church music rising up. I grew up on likes of Winery, Delirious? and Sonicflood. And my private playlist has Jesus Tradition, Hillsong Younger & Free, Elevation, and all the remaining on common rotation.
However lately, I’ve come to understand the older songs. Not simply because listening to an historic hymn from an previous pipe organ simply feels holy. However as a result of previous songs have stood the take a look at of time and they’re our connection to the (decrease case) catholic Church.
C.S. Lewis in his essay “On The Reading of Old Books” encourages his readers and college students to learn no less than as many elderly books as new books. Not as a result of crusty previous books are essentially higher, however as a result of “A new book is still on its trial and the amateur is not in a position to judge it. It has to be tested against the great body of Christian thought down the ages.” Merely put, previous songs have stood the take a look at of time. We all know they’re highly effective and worthwhile as a result of the church remains to be singing them a whole bunch of years later.
I didn’t notice till David Wesley’s video that one of many hymns which most powerfully speaks into my life, “Be Thou My Vision” is from 560! It must be no shock that it strikes so powerfully, we wouldn’t be singing it virtually 1500 years later if it weren’t highly effective.
However much more that being good books, Lewis says previous books are worthwhile as a result of they present us that the church is larger and extra unified than we see round us. Lewis continues that “Every age has its own outlook. It is specially good at seeing certain truths and specially liable to make certain mistakes. We all, therefore, need the books that will correct the characteristic mistakes of our own period. And that means the old books.” Our worship music isn’t any totally different, it’s a product of our age and can’t escape our modern outlook. However singing previous songs brings us into the outlook of the church in ages previous, into the hearts and minds of our seasoned older siblings in Christ.
And never solely does it assist us see the larger historic Church, it additionally helps us see the larger Church in the present day. Lewis writes that once we learn previous books we are able to see past the divisions in modern debate and see what unites throughout the ages. “Seen from there, what is left intact despite all the divisions, still appears (as it truly is) an immensely formidable unity.” Although it shouldn’t, what usually serves because the marker of our Church divisions is the kind of worship music we sing on Sunday morning—even amongst church buildings that solely sing modern worship music. However once we have a look at hymnals and see songs written by Baptists, Wesleyans, Presbyterians, Lutherans and even Luther himself, we don’t see the person debates that created these divisions however the unifying love of God which makes all of them part of our custom in the present day. In brief, we notice that what unifies us is larger than what divides us.
So ought to we put off modern worship music? No, I don’t wish to be part of a church that’s caught prior to now. However simply as we research the books of previous theologians and pastors, so too ought to we sing some previous music once in a while.