This last week, as we returned from breaks and Montreat we talked about music; 'twas time to talk about this tune, given that we've been talking about worship all year... Often when we're talking about worship, people think we are talking about music, especially because we live in Nashville ;) but this year, we've been talking about worship as a life practice and those things in our lives that are worship. Music is certainly worship. In fact, in the Presbyterian tradition, we consider music as important as preaching. Music is, in a sense, a type of preaching, a way of explaining the world around us, things that hurt and save us, and texts that are holy. This helps me understand why it's so important to us and why we all have so many diverse and important opinions about music and different songs.
We get upset when we don't like a song or when a song is done differently than we like because music is sacred! Music often taps into something inside of us that we can't always describe, so it helps to have other voices in our life's chorus. We read the story of Jesus' baptism, and the song, or the words, that Jesus or maybe everyone there heard, in that moment. A lot of churches sing these words when a child is baptized: "You are my beloved child, in whom I am well pleased." It's a beautiful sentiment, and people who "grew up" with that song are rightly attached to it. But it can be problematic because some versions say "son" and not everyone is a son. Also, are we saying that every baby is Jesus?! Songs aren't perfect, like preaching isn't perfect. Music isn't perfect. And that's why we try, at UKirk anyway, to experience all different kinds of songs. It's perfectly alright to hope that we'll play your favorite and to enjoy that when we do, but you should expect no worship service to be perfect for you.
I once heard another pastor say that when someone tells her they didn't like the service, she just says: "well, that's fine, because it wasn't about you..." We've talked a lot this year about worship being formational, and that means it might not always make us comfortable. I'm not always ready to confess my sins before others, but it's often one of my favorite parts of a worship service, and sometimes songs I don't like have something to tell me, too. So, thanks for hanging in with us when we don't play your song. We hope you find some new tunes you didn't know would sing to you.