Sunday, May 23, 2010

Music for Worship: Hymns 2

As promised, here is the actual "interview" my middle school students had to give their parents the first week of school:

All music sung by Christians has an element of worship in it, because ALL of our life is worship, but there are some songs which are more explicitly God-ward than others. We will have opportunity to sing this type of music in our choir this year- a unique privilege of a being a Christian school. This sort of music, based on Scripture, can stir our hearts with fervor or with conviction, allowing the Holy Spirit to minister to us. There are Psalms written out of every emotion. Music keeps Heaven in the Christian's ears.

“The tears flowed from me when I heard Your hymns and canticles, for the sweet singing of Your Church moved me deeply. The music surged in my ears, truth seeped into my heart, and my feelings of devotion overflowed, so that tears streamed down. But they were tears of gladness.” ~ “St.” Augustine (354-430)

Your instructions are to interview your father (extra credit for interviewing Mom too!) and ask him the following questions. Write down his answers. I hope that this will help your whole family think about how we are relating to our God through song.
Note: in this interview, "hymn" simply means any song used in worship.

1. What is a hymn you remember from your childhood?
2. What is your favorite hymn right now? Why?
3. Which Scripture passage does it make you think of or come from?
4. What is a hymn that has come to your mind in a time of celebration? Which time was this specifically?
5. What is a hymn that has come to your mind to comfort you in a time of sorrow? Why/how?
6. What is a hymn that has reminded you of truth in a time of confusion; one that has "set you straight" in some way?

As a teacher, I saw these 6 questions open up a lot of good conversation across generations, and was especially pleased to see the way it affected the boys when they found out that their dads benefitted from singing in worship. It was also so critical for them to realize that we don't just sing songs to the Lord out of a glad heart-- this is one error many make, and it can absolutely kill a grieving heart. Sometimes, the sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, and the Psalms testify to that. It's so important for saints of all ages to remember that we are to sing to God and worship Him in every emotion, be it confusion, hope, elation, wonder, and even despair. Those songs actually inform our grief and help us deal with it properly!

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