There is currently much debate regarding the worship songs, hymns and music used in churches. Some favour modern expressions of worship and the songs made popular by Hillsong Australia, Bethel USA and other similar groups. Others favour more traditional hymns and yet others exclusive psalmody.
It is self evident that many of our tradition evangelical hymns [at least the ones I was brought up with] are not “God Focused” in the strict sense to the term – being more “testimony” or “missional” songs. Other hymns seek to express theology. Charles Wesley for instance, like Martin Luther, believed hymns were a means of teaching theology. And finally and undoubtedly there are majestic and inspiring “God Focused” older hymns and psalms also.
And so the debate goes on with some entrenched positions even leading to disputes and division.
In the final analysis though worship in music and song has a glorious model which in the eternal day might leave some disappointed! For instance those who dislike repetitive songs, and there are many, may be disappointed to discover as John did Angels who sing –
“Day after day and night after night … “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God, the Almighty— the one who always was, who is, and who is still to come.”
But in his revelation of a future day John also records his amazement at the scenes of worship he witnessed –
“Then I looked again, and I heard the voices of thousands and millions of angels around the throne and of the living beings and the elders. And they sang in a mighty chorus:
“Worthy is the Lamb who was slaughtered—
to receive power and riches
and wisdom and strength
and honor and glory and blessing.”
And then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea. They sang:
“Blessing and honor and glory and power
belong to the one sitting on the throne
and to the Lamb forever and ever.”
And the four living beings said, “Amen!” And the twenty-four elders fell down and worshiped the Lamb.”
I don’t know about you – but for me I want to hear the echo and sing the song of heaven in life and in church. As Anne R. Cousin so beautifully wrote –
The Bride eyes not her garment, but her dear Bridegroom’s face;
I will not gaze at glory but on my King of grace.
Not at the crown He giveth but on His pierced hand;
The Lamb is all the glory of Immanuel’s land.
If he is all the glory of heaven – can he not be the all the glory and song of his bride here on the earth? Surely HE should be the focus of all our worship!