#191 – Judging Worship
I love worshipping God through music.
I first really experienced God’s presence in a small house in Mexico. Our group was on a mission trip and we were spending time worshipping God through music. As my eyes were closed and I was singing the words, it felt as if everyone else disappeared and I was before God’s throne. There’s nothing quite like that experience.
Unfortunately, there are some worship songs that can immediately snap me out of the moment. Like Threepio walking in on Han and Leia, there are some worship songs that can totally ruin the moment.
I readily admit that a lot of times my reaction to a song has more to do with my critical nature than with the inherent quality of the song. There are some secular songs I just don’t like and there are some worship songs that I just don’t like.
What course of action should we take, though, when a worship song has bad theology, uninteresting music or nonsensical lyrics? Is there room in modern Christianity to raise a critical eye to worship songs and judge their viability for a worship service?
The challenge in judging worship songs is thoroughly examining why we don’t like a particular song. There are a lot of worship songs we might not like simply because of their style or their age. When our only complaints are that a song is “lame” or “too old”, then we should probably get over ourselves and not allow the song to influence our ability to worship God.
If we have legitimate concerns, though, over a song’s theology, music or lyrics, then we need to learn how to have productive conversations. It’s important to have those conversations because God deserves to be correctly and excellently praised.
At church this weekend I had questions about a song’s theology that we sang. After our Friday night service I asked our worship pastor about the song and how he interpreted its theology. We had a good conversation that didn’t answer all of my questions, but it was a good start. I can only imagine how the conversation would have gone had I started out by saying, “That song’s dumb and I don’t think we should sing it anymore.”
God deserves songs that are correct in theology and musically and lyrically excellent. We can’t apply the same type of assembly line system which produced Rebecca Black’s “Friday” to worship songs. These are the songs that we’re bringing as our praise to the creator of the universe. If they don’t demand a critical and objective eye, then I don’t know what does.
Whether a song is exceptional or theologically sound, worshipping God mostly has to do with our hearts and posture. If we have the correct heart and a humble posture, we could sing “Yub Nub” and still manage to step into God’s presence.
How do you feel about judging worship songs?