So lately I have become fascinated with a group called Indelible Grace, along with some of the contemporary hymn writers and others who seek to bring some depth and content to the music scene (i.e. Derek Webb, David Crowder, Chris Tomlin, etc.) where for so long it has been saturated with shallow, cliche-driven lyrics grounded on the same principles as Top-40 radio that if you get a cool catch phrase that repeats well and sounds good set to a beat, it can be successful. For many years in college and Seminary I was very jaded and unappreciative of Christian music for those very reasons, that the depth and wonder of the Gospel was watered down to Spector-ish garbage that packed sold-out arenas full of screaming hand-lifting young people who had no idea their minds were being sucked dry by empty lyrics.
The beautiful thing about depth of lyric is that we as people were created with a certain sensitivity to music and poetry and our memorization is increased when things are put to a rhythm and melody. Therefore, what better to commit to memory than rich theological Truth of great importance? Many of our hymns were written as confessional statements set to music, so that the church would sing with one accord what they believed. Sadly in recent years, the contemporary scene has reduced corporate singing to "Jesus Jesus how I love you, Jesus Jesus hold my hand" where we could replace Jesus with "baby" and it be a secular love song. I love contemporary music, and think there can be much good drawn from it and much benefit to the church from it. But may we never seek to replace doctrinal truth and depth of teaching in music with shallow catch phrases and an emotive response. Right now I am listening to In Christ Alone, a hymn that stirs the heart not because of the beat, but because of the amazing Truth that we find in it conveyed to us in our situation of living in light of the power of the Resurrection.
Sing church, sing about the hope of our Redeemer, sing of the Resurrection, sing of His power, sing of His mercy, His love, His grace, sing about His abiding with us and making us His treasure, sing with all your heart, sing with all your soul, and sing with all your mind. May we never tire of singing the praises of God, and may we never ever sacrifice the exaltation of the Son for the sake of sounding catchy, attracting attention, or getting a response from people.