In my mind, a hymn is a traditional song I sang in church when I was a kid. Choruses are songs I sang during Sunday School, chapel or devotions. Anything newer than that is contemporary Christian music – some of it popular, some of it worship. I know my definitions aren’t accurate and they date me, but they undergird my attitudes about Christian music.
That’s not always a good thing. It shames me to think back to my responses whenever the music style in church has been changed. At times I feel like that grumpy old woman who complains about change. There are plenty of new songs that I love. But, in general, I don’t like contemporary Christian music, probably because I don’t like the style of most popular music. The older I get, the more I love the music of my childhood.
The shameful thing about it is that I take my attitude toward music into church with me. I’m critical of the music I don’t like and if I don’t submit that attitude to the Lord, I become critical of the people who choose it, lead it and love it. And then I find myself talking about it and them. It taints my worship.
Prayer should be free from anger and controversy.
Prayer is talking to God. When I’m in His house I should remember I’m talking to Him and worshipping Him. It’s not about the style of worship or the people who have different tastes from me. It’s us talking to Him together. My part is to set it all aside and join them in prayer – even if the way they pray annoys me.
Music is only one of the things that happens in church. There are so many things that we Christians can find to dislike about it. The order of service, the sermon, the offering, the leadership, the Sunday School, the curtains, the bathrooms . . . Criticize it and you’ll find yourself getting upset, even angry. Talk about it and you’ll stir up controversy.
Instead, we should pray. Raise our holy (redeemed, forgiven, sanctified) hands to God and remember we’re standing with His people, in His house, worshipping Him.