My boys have been an active part of the worship program in our Church. They play guitars and sing almost every week with my wife as the lead. As a group, my four boys have sung numerous Church both new and old. They love all types of music and are very familiar with all types of music, but like all people they have songs that are their favorites.
I am no different from my boys. I have been a part of number of Churches and I have sang songs from almost every page of the hymnbook clear to the latest song from the Passion album. Through the years I have developed a list of songs that are my favorites. Some are favorites because of the lyrics, some are favorites because of the tunes and some are favorites because of an emotional connection.
This last week for our worship program I picked the traditional hymn “Amazing Grace.” During rehearsal on Wed night they began signing the song. They have sung it before but usually we do the updated version by Chris Tomlin called “My Chains Are Gone.” As they tried singing the song they struggled with the tempo and it was a little high for their vocal range. Quickly they began laughing and joking about the song. Now, honestly, I have to say that I was a little offended. This song has special memories to me. It has solid lyrics that express the essentials of the Christian faith.
Suddenly I was reminded of a simple truth – What is precious to me is not precious to everyone. Actually I was reminded of a summer I spent in England. The Church there did not sing Amazing Grace on Sunday morning because the song was traditionally used only at graveside funeral services. The people (in that community at least) did not see the song as a worship song, but rather a song of parting and sorrow.
I have seen this truth played out another way. When moving from one Church to another I have often been told that their Church sings several traditional old hymns. Then when I arrived I found out that they did not sing “my” traditional old hymns. They had their own set of favorites usually influenced by their song leader or even their songbook.
I have my mist of favorite songs. So do you. So does everyone. But often I need to be reminded that my list is not the same as your list. People have favorites for different reasons and what is precious to me may not be precious to you. And the what is precious to you may not be precious to me. That’s okay. It is part of human nature. It is part of Church culture.
With all that said, lets all make a deal. I will sing your songs to the best of my ability with seriousness and honor … and you do the same for me. Then maybe instead of being a group of unconnected individuals we can be individuals who are connected together as a group.