Saturday, April 28, 2007

Soldiers of Christ Arise!

I usually keep my car radio on the local Christian station. I know how lucky I am to live in a town where we have such a thing! The music is clean, uplifting, and they warn you to turn your radio down before sensitive news stories come on (for the protection of little ears). It's nice.

And these days a lot of the songs we hear on the radio have made their way into church. I've even heard my 3 year old sitting at the table singing a Chris Tomlin song while she colored! Now I like these "modern" or "contemporary" songs just fine. In fact, I catch myself singing them during the week myself.

But it does make me kind of sad. Sad that my children will grow up not knowing the hymns that we grew up with. I keep an old blue hymnal in my sewing/laundry room. It's one of the hymnals that our church used when we were growing up. I flip it open while I iron and sing my heart out. I guess my children hear me, but that doesn't mean they will grow up knowing these songs.

I know, I know--it's a new age. There are churches who steadfastly stick to singing the old hymns. (Nothing written before 1920!) There are also churches who sing only "contemporary" songs and never sing "hymns." I guess its a matter of preference.

What really bothers me about all this new music is that it is all so emotional. Every song I hear lately seems written to tug at our heart strings, make us cry, and pierce our hearts. There is a place for that, of course. But whatever happened to songs that uplift us and make us prepared to fight the good fight?

Listen to these titles from my old hymnal: "Onward Christian Soldiers," "To Christ Be True," "Stand Up, Stand Up for Jesus," "Faith Is the Victory." These songs make you want to just march right out of the church and do the Lord's work all week long! They are encouraging. They are no-nonsense. They don't make you cry! I really miss those.

I don't know about you, but when I leave church, I don't want to leave all wrung out and exhausted from the emotional experience that worship was. I want to leave encouraged and filled with new strength to follow the Lord and face whatever lies ahead.

I could use a few of those songs sometimes.

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