So tell me about yourself…. Specifically, what’s your worship preference? Are you one for lofty, glorious majestic music played on a pipe organ? Or today’s contemporary music, played on electric guitars? Or maybe folk hymns played on an acoustic guitar, with a tambourine accompaniment.
I’ll take any of the above. I guess I like variety, cuz I have all of those options on my iPod. But I’ll tell you what is not my favorite thing: the hymns of old, but with a new melody to go along with it. All that does is confuse me.
We sang one of these a few weeks ago at church. We sang “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing” but with a slightly different tune, and at the wrong tempo. And I thought to myself, “It’s fine this way; I don’t dislike it, but why? There was nothing wrong with it the way it was.”
I know it’s partially just a love of the hymn that causes someone to want to put a different spin on it. Sort of an homage.
But for the listener ~ for the worshiper ~ it’s more than just a new spin on an old classic. I realized as I sang that morning, that I was having to pay a little more attention to the words. I couldn’t do it on autopilot; I needed to concentrate.
And I thought the same thing a few minutes later when we read a passage of Scripture out loud. When we read as a congregation, the pace seems a little stilted and awkward. But in the same way, the pace seems more thoughtful than it might be if I were just skimming through it on my own.
A friend of mine visited Israel several years ago, and when she came home, one of the thing she shared with me was that the steps of the temple in Jerusalem are uneven. They were built that way so that worshipers would be forced to climb them slowly and reflectively. I like that thought. That is, after all, how worship should be.