Worship and Hymn Writing Part II – Rouse up Affections for the Triune God
We should be saying in our songs of praise big things about our God. I don’t remember who said this, but someone said that ‘the praise songs today that are trendy are the ones that you could replace God with the name of your girlfriend and it works perfectly.’ In some ways, I think this is true. Our worship today does not say much more than what we say everyday to the ones we care about. This should not be so – our songs to God should be distinct, filled with things that could only be said to him. Our songs should be able to rouse affections for the Triune God that are much higher than any other being.
Luke 14 gives the parable of the Great Banquet. A man wanted to give a banquet and invited many people. But those who were invited gave excuses: their fields, new oxen to tend to, a new wife to be with. These people who were invited cared more for their own concerns and had higher affections for their fields, oxen, and wives than the great banquet – this was a tragedy. The songs we sing should aid our congregations in growing their love for God greater than anything else – even spouses and families. The songs and hymns that we write for our congregations should not be on equal footing with all the other subjects we sing about. Our songs should make hearts swell and joy rise. We should strive hard for language that compels a believer to groan for Jesus because he is becoming more and more his highest love and treasure. We should struggle to entice their redeemed taste-buds and their renewed, holy sensory system they have been given through the New Covenant (Ez. 36:26; 1Cor. 2:10-16) to see God the Father, his Son Jesus, and his Holy Spirit as irresistibly lovely. We must endeavor to break through the power of sin in the lives of each individual with joy in Christ – who is our hope of great glory and great enjoyment. The songs we sing should so distinctly be directed towards God that it would be obvious blasphemy if we replace God with the name of our girlfriend.