Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Musical Message

One advantage to marrying a man nine years my senior is the ability to mess with his (practically middle-aged) head.

Is it wrong to admit that I LIKE occasionally messing with my husband’s head?

If it is…I don’t want to be right!

Lately, I’ve been having fun with the “Humming Game.”

I will sing a familiar song from church and wait for ten or twelve seconds until I hear the corresponding humming coming from the living room.

Eventually, he wanders in the kitchen trying to remember the words to “that” song. At which time, I play dumb with, ”Hmm, no, I don’t believe I know that song.” Leading him to shake his head and mumble, “I know this! I know I do. It’s something…”

The best part being, of course, that he has NO idea I was singing the song earlier and therefore planting the seed in his poor 38-year-old-head.

I’m an evil genius.

Speaking of church music, I have recently been Gettyized.

Over the past year, the music leader at our church has been introducing several new songs by Keith and Kristyn Getty.

Now, these are very lovely songs, don’t get me wrong. But for the longest time, I hated not knowing any words to any of the songs we were singing in church.

I’m a Baptist. Baptist kids grow up MEMORIZING the old-fashioned hymn book.

You show me a Baptist-From-Birth, and I’ll show you someone who can sing Just As I Am backwards. (This comes from singing Just As I Am, all eighty–four verses, during countless invitationals, while slowly losing all feeling in your legs.)

Just thinking about Just As I am makes my legs go all pins-and-needles.

We Baptists take great pride in knowing our church hymns. The hallmark of a true Baptist is the Fourth-Verse-Hymn-Book-Snap. This is where you snap your hymn book closed during the fourth verse of a hymn (pre-chorus!) just to prove that you KNOW this song.

This was all pre-PowerPoint and the giant screen sing-a-longs favored by churches today. The FVHBS will die a natural death if all hymn books are withered from non-use.

I do not discount the value of the Big Screen movement, but there’s my Baptist heritage that starts to twitch when people change anything.

After numerous services of not knowing the words (or tunes) to these new songs, I was fed up with mumbling and desperately hoping the music leader would decide to lead the congregation in a backwards version of Just As I Am.

Finally, I decided to break down and ask for the Getty’s latest CD for Christmas.

Mom came though for me, and I’ve been listening exclusively to the Getty’s in my car for the past 15 days.

I have to say I’ve been humbled. I still mumble along occasionally, but I’m starting to get all the words now. And I love it.

I’m not a fan of church music. I never have been. Music issues – style, instruments, people - have caused more division in churches I’ve been in than any other issue.

Frankly, I believe a lot of people lift music to a place of idolatry in the church – glorifying those gifted with musical talents before the God they are purportedly trying to worship.

People also become so enamored with music they forget there are other ways to worship God – through art, writing, public readings, and more. Music is not the be-all end-all.

It’s just music.

That said, it makes sense I would gravitate to church-music-done-Morning-Star-style. Our song leader encourages everyone to sing out – no matter if you read music, know parts, or can even carry a tune.

“Make a joyful noise,” has been heard around my pew more than once. Especially around my pew.

This is not to say there isn’t beautiful, professional-quality music at our church. Our music director is exceptionally gifted and humble - as are our pianists, other instrumentalists, and choir members.

It’s the spirit of the music-sharing that I appreciate. The music underscores the message every week. Every song is planned out to accentuate the message and compliment the overall tone of the service.

It isn’t “how can we knock this song out of the park?” It’s “what song will bring us to the point where we can best receive what God has prepared for us?”

And that’s what it’s all about anyway.

So, I guess now I am a fan of church music.

When it’s done in the right spirit. And not the sole, exclusive escort to the message. I’d like to hear more poems and reading, but perhaps that will just take more time to evolve.

Maybe if we could get Keith and Kristyn Getty to write some poems?

P.S. – If you’ve never heard of the Getty’s (heaven knows, I hadn’t), I totally recommend their site and their CD. My favorite songs are The Power of the Cross and See, What A Morning.


Heidi said...

Don't forget the ever popular In Christ Alone and the theme for the year 2008-- Hear the Call of the Kingdom.
I soooooo agree with you. So many Fundys get this my music is better than your music thing going and they look down their long (getting longer by the issue) noses as those who have more contemporary music in their services.
My legs ache just thinking about Just as I am. I know Pastor had us sing Just as I am one day in the service and I felt as though I should walk down the aisle as tradition would have it. Good old fundy Baptist heritage.
That is one thing I appreciate about MSBC is the music. There is such a variety and there is communication among the leadership regarding the services to make the music coincide with the sermon. It makes it a true worship experience.

Robin Hayes said...

FVHBS I am not! I have to have the words all the way through. :) I got the Gettys music as part of my birthday present back in October. I just love listening to their songs! And singing along...Chris makes fun of me when he can hear me singing (I have on headphones).

October Dawn said...

Try children's music...it's made to be sung out of tune and often carries the deepest truths in the most memorable arrangement.