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Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Jesus Christ Rose From the Dead!

Yup. It's a historical fact. (But, if you're a doubter, then "I double dog dare you" to disprove it historically.) Consequently, this blog exists to support, illustrate, and encourage people. It supports, i.e., advertises the fact. It illustrates and celebrates it's real-life implications for the Christ follower. It encourages fellow Christ followers and those considering whether-or-not-to-become Christ followers.

Here's a troubling, but predictable observation in the theme of last weeks' post. Remember that I said Christ's resurrection " ...remains as threatening and hated today, by some, as it was in AD 68. Every effort has been made by principalities and powers--the dark rulers of this world and of the unseen spirit world--to discredit that Good News. Hmmm. Where do we see it?

The Word/Integrity Celebration Hymnal, 1997
I wonder if--like me--you've observed the dramatic changes in Christian worship music? Tell me. You be the judge. Are the changes you've seen good, bad, or neutral? Maybe you don't really know? Regardless your judgment, I think (if you're seasoned enough to recognize the changes) we can probably agree on this: Today's contemporary worship songs ARE NOT the worship songs of just 20, 30,...50 years ago. What would you say is most noticeably different? My observation: It's generally their content. Praise and worship aside, the content of today's church worship music has deteriorated dramatically. How? It's the instructive, theological, historical, doctrinal, and self-disciplinary/ persevering themes. Those themes are altogether gone, or they are meagerly present at best.

Contrast, for example, the lyrics of the old hymn, Take Time to Be Holy. Thoughtfully compare, if you can--ya, I know it's an age-related thing--this routinely sung hymn of just 40 years ago (that's 1970) to a worship song of your choosing in 2015.

 Take time to be holy, speak oft with thy Lord;
Abide in Him always, and feed on His Word.
Make friends of God’s children, help those who are weak,
Forgetting in nothing His blessing to seek.

Take time to be holy, the world rushes on;
Spend much time in secret, with Jesus alone.
By looking to Jesus, like Him thou shalt be;
Thy friends in thy conduct His likeness shall see.

Take time to be holy, let Him be thy Guide;
And run not before Him, whatever betide.
In joy or in sorrow, still follow the Lord,
And, looking to Jesus, still trust in His Word.

Take time to be holy, be calm in thy soul,
Each thought and each motive beneath His control.
Thus led by His Spirit to fountains of love,
Thou soon shalt be fitted for service above.

OK. You might be saying to me, "Well, that's not fair! You chose a really good one, probably not representative of the majority of past worship songs?" Nope; not true. Just grab a dusty ole hymnal from the closet archives of a church that's been around for a little more than 25 years. Open it up--any page--and read the lyrics. Yup. See what I mean.

So why is this important? How does this relate to my last blog? Again, remember what I said about Christ's resurrection "(It) ...remains as threatening and hated today, by some, as it was in AD 68. Every effort has been made by principalities and powers--the dark rulers of this world and of the unseen spirit world--to discredit that Good News. Those discrediting, dumming down influences are at work everywhere--even inside the church--whether we're aware of it or not.

It is a troubling thought, but it is recognizable in the Church. We can see it. It's in the simple and subtle way we've dumbed down--yes, with good intentions--present day worship. We have slowly and unintentionally emptied  historically profound content from Church worship songs. It's quietly separating the Historical Church, and our legacy, from our Contemporary Worship. Hmmm. Well, you say, "Isn't it really about worship...everyone just really getting into worshiping Jesus regardless of the words, the content, etc?" Really? C-a-r-e-f-u-l-l-y think about what you just asked,...then you tell me. Sure--some agreement--worship is "of the heart," but it's also supposed to be a Spirit and Truth thing....right? (John 4:23, 24)

So, again, I ask myself the same question I peddled home mulling last week, "Dick, what are you doing with that truth, and what can you expect will happen as you choose to live it's implications daily?"

How about you...what are your thoughts? (Re-read the old hymn...identify those pieces of content I identified above...hmmm.)

That's Dialogues... for today.

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