Matching Our Songs and Our Lives

We sang an interesting mix of songs yesterday— we had traditional hymns (“To God Be the Glory,” “Lord, We Come Before Thee Now”), Stamps-Baxter-type Gospel songs (“Glory-land Way,” “Sing and Be Happy”), and contemporary praise songs (“My God Reigns,” “How Great is Our God”). What tied them altogether was the word “rejoice.” (Our worship theme was "Rejoice in the Lord Always"). God has called his people in every generation to rejoice, so it makes sense that we sang songs from several generations. (OK, we didn’t have any Gregorian chants; maybe next week.) Because all of these songs were “rejoice” songs, they were uptempo and upbeat. They were written in different styles, but they moved… and those songs always move me.

I wonder-- can our happy-clappy “rejoice in the Lord” worship sometimes come across as rather... well, artificial? Sometimes we drag ourselves to church, weighed down with all kinds of issues in our families, finances, jobs, health, etc. We don't feel particularly happy-clappy, but we do feel the pressure to act like everything is "just fine." Is worship putting on a happy face for an hour? Is praise something we plug for an extra buzz of joy? Like this video?

Plug into our HGHD (Holy Ghost Hard Drive) for an extra jolt of joy? Is that what worship is—an artificial infusion of joy? Are we supposed to deny our struggles and hardships for an hour (OK, an hour and twenty minutes) so that we can worship acceptably? I remember an old prayer phrase used a lot in church prayers, “May we leave our worldly cares and concerns behind as we come to worship Thee.” Really? No. We don’t leave our cares behind—we bring them to God!

Jesus said that as long as we’re in the world, we will have troubles (John 16:33). But the rest of the verse is "But take heart! I have overcome the world.” Church isn’t the place where we act like we have no issues so that we can worship God. Church is where we go to be reminded that Jesus has indeed overcome the world and that we will overcome through Him. No, our lives don’t always match up to our songs NOW, but we sing them because one day they WILL match up!