“Dad, that song sounded weird.”
A funny thing happened one Sunday that enlightened me about the type of music we use in our gatherings, and shed light on the subject of music, and change in general, in our assemblies.
Currently, our assembly is introducing some changes in the way we do music at the 11:00am service. Our plan is to balance the use of traditional music while slowly integrating modern music as well.
This is what happened at the 9:30 am service…
In the morning meeting, at the Lord’s Supper, a song was given out which was not as familiar as some of the others. The song is called “No Blood No Altar Now.”
If you are familiar with this song, then you will know the unique lilt or rhythm this song carries – with its repetitive, consecutive whole notes on the part that goes “but richer blood has–flowed–from–no–bler–veins.”
After that song, my son leaned over and whispered in my ear: “Dad, that song sounded weird.” Just to be clear: my thirteen year old son does enjoy the songs sung at the Breaking of Bread, given out from the black hymnal, but he wasn’t too familiar with that one.
Now this is what happened at the 11:00 am service…
On that particular Sunday, it was my turn, along with others, to lead the congregations in singing before the preacher gave his message. As usual, we had selected two newer (written recently) songs balanced by two hymns and a children’s song to sing with the assembly. One of those songs was “Good, Good Father” by Chris Tomlin.
Some time after the service, a dear elderly saint, sent by a contingent of other dear elderly saints, approached me to speak about how some of the new songs are so hard to follow. “They have a funny lilt,” she said. “You don’t know where they are going,” she commented, frustrated.
Understanding each other’s perspective
I couldn’t help but think of my son’s comment during the morning meeting, telling me “Dad, that song sounded weird.” Ironically, what this elderly saint experienced was exactly the same as what my son experienced in the morning meeting earlier on.
As I listened to the words of this dear old faithful saint I didn’t really know how to help her. Such is the nature of music, I guess or any changes that don’t involve biblical commands. We all have our preferences. We all have our familiars. We all have our favorites.
Bearing with one another’s preferences
Just like my son had to bear with the “strangeness” of an unfamiliar old song, so too, she would have to bear with the “strangeness” of an unfamiliar new song.
In time, I hope my son will enjoy singing “No Blood, No Altar Now,” like the rest of us, and in time, I hope my elderly friends will enjoy singing the songs I enjoy singing like “Good, Good Father”.
Living out Christ’s mind
In fact, I think our musical tastes provide the context for us to show Christian grace, patience and love to one another. What I am trying to teach my son is that the assembly is not a place that belongs to our family alone.
Within the assembly are many different age groups and many musical tastes, along with tastes in clothing, learning the Bible, prayer styles and many others. That is why we cannot only play or sing the songs that we like to play. I think I will give the same advice to that elderly saint.
Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Philippians 2:3-4.
Editorial Note: Today is assemblyHUB’s 400th article posted. We thank the Lord for his direction and the writers he has brought to share their views and experiences with the assemblies.