Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The I of Worship Music

One thing I have noticed, and I think it goes along with the common mantra of our culture being self-focused and self-referential, is the emphasis in many worship songs on the first person. So many times we sing about what Jesus did for me, personalizing the impact of the events of Calvary and the glorious salvation that results from that. And it is awesome that Christ did all those things for me, that because of the person and work of Christ I personally have hope that surpasses all understanding, brings me to my knees, and draws me closer to the Lord through this humbling circumstance.

I think our day promotes the self as the center of attention and focus. This is best reflected by TIME magazine saying "YOU" are the person of the year, with Apple coming out with the i-Line (iPod, iPhone, iMac, etc.) saying that "I" am the one who is most important and who determines what is best. Is there anything wrong with having any of these things? No, I do not believe so. I have an iPod, and I am a Mac convert, and one of the selling points for me was that I could choose what came on the computer. The problem I had with my previous machine was that it came full of stuff I didn't want or need and I spent a day deleting it all. Personal convenience is one of the best parts of living in 2008, I can go to the restaurant and order food as I would like it as opposed to a cookie-cutter menu. I work at Starbucks, and there personal choice rules the day (just ask the people who get a half-caf triple grande 2 pump vanilla soy no foam extra hot light whip latte).

So how does this apply to us in worship? Simply put, I think our worship in a lot circumstances is very selfish. Our focus is so much on "me" and "I" and "my Lord" and less and less on our corporate identity as the people of God. The subject of many of our songs is the first person singular singing towards God, and the first person singular reception from God. Before I continue, is there anything wrong with this? Certainly not, because the work of Christ personally applies to me and you and every individual believer on a very personal and deep level. I love to sing of what my Savior did for me, and how my words are inadequate to respond to Him.

Maybe I'm just blowing air, but I do wonder what it means for Christians to focus so much on the personal relationship with Christ and distance themselves from the corporate relationship we have with other believers in Christ. By isolating worship solely to the individual and God, I fear we lose some of the identity we have as a Church praising the Lord in one voice. Also, sometimes I think worship songs talk too much about "me" and not enough about God. Worship is ascribing worth to God, and we sing about Him, we sing to Him, we sing because of Him. Anyway, just tossing some thoughts out there.


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