Monday, April 19, 2010

Old Hymns, New Life, Good Wife (Radio / Podcast)

An excellent wife is the crown of her husband,
(Proverbs 12:4a)

I have often said that the old hymns aren’t dead, but that we just need to breathe new life into them. I have also said in conjunction with that statement that at our church we often use old hymns with new arrangements, and the same words with different sounds and rhythms. The point was not about the new arrangements or sounds or rhythms, but a new, fresh vigor and appreciation for the theological and biblical words, phrases, and concepts delivered by these old hymns and spiritual songs, so wonderfully rich with timeless truth. However, this was perhaps not as clear to the people as it was to me.

My wife was talking to me one day and said that she thought I needed to be a little more precise on this matter. It seemed to her that when I said this, some people though it meant that we should indeed do old hymns, but that in order to breathe new life into them we need to use new rhythms. Perhaps, she said, some might even think that they would remain dead unless we used new arrangements, etc. For them what I was saying was that it was not just about keeping the old songs, but also about losing the old timing, music, etc.

Even though I communicated clearly, people hear from their own perspective, and as a pastor I must communicate in such as way as to speak to every situation that I can without clouding the message. I had got my point across, we were doing a lot of old songs, but did I do more than I intended by my unbeknownst lack of clarity? I knew what I had meant and I was right, but did people get all of what I was saying, or did they apply it in too literal a fashion?

You can be right about a thing but still not be considerate of all the angles necessary for others to appreciate it and apply it. Think about the Corinthians who had the right knowledge of idols but didn’t consider others who still had a weak conscience. Their right was made wrong, not by their understanding, but by their misunderstanding of how love limits liberty. In the same way, we don’t just get something right and then expect that all will understand as thoroughly as we do. If it took us time to come to the understanding, and that happened after specifically studying the matter, why would it not take others time as well?

It was worth thinking about and investigating. The ministers of music send me their ideas for the songs they want to use each week. I began to notice that my wife was right; we were using many old songs but almost always with new beats, rhythms, arrangements and such. Although they had a new appreciation for singing the old songs, perhaps they missed the point that we didn’t always need to revamp the old songs to re-amp them.

I meditated on this and realized that I do not want to miss a very practical and powerful point for my own life: listen to the wife even if you know you are right. You may be right but you can always expand the reach of your rightness. Her perspective is valuable and most precious. She is on your side, but she can see more than your shore. If she understands you like no one else, and yet she isn’t exactly clear on a matter, what does that say for people who know you less?

My wife truly makes me a better pastor. Your wife is here to make your old rights even more right. Listen to her rhythm and you will be blessed. If you fail to listen to her you fail to appreciate one of God’s greatest means of your growth in sanctification, as well as sanity.

“Living For Today With An Eye For Tomorrow”©

1 comment:

Even So... said...

Brand new stuff...