Sunday, April 18, 2010

In Praise of . . . Praise Music

Within the community of believers are traditionalists who consider praise and worship music an unnecessary medium that should be limited to centuries old hymns whose lyrics are plucked from the King James Bible. I respectfully disagree and think that is a personal preference, not a commandment. When we pray, are we limited to only those words that appear in His word? Of course not. When David and Solomon composed their songs, their inspiration was God and they were working without a script. Any language that honors our Lord and expresses our faith is sufficient for Him to understand our meaning.

Among the purists are some who believe all secular music should be shunned. Should the Song of Songs be rejected as sacrilege? The love between a man and woman is celebrated throughout the Bible while marriage is compared to the union of Jesus and His church. Many of the words we use to describe our feelings for our Creator and Savior are the same we use to describe our deepest worldly loves.

I think of my communion with God as a completely perfect song with two necessary parts. The lyrics are the inspired word of God and the music is the Holy Spirit. Some people know the words but don't feel the music.

Paul McCartney wrote Maybe I'm Amazed for his first wife, Linda Eastman, early in their marriage and at the end of his career with the Beatles. McCartney had broken his engagement of several years to actress Jane Asher. He and his longtime friend and collaborator, John Lennon, were becoming estranged personally and professionally. The lyrics candidly convey the humility of a man whose life and self-image were in crisis.

Bryan Duncan is a Southern California-based gospel singer, musician and author who put his own distinctive Christian contemporary spin on Maybe I'm Amazed for his 2001 album Joyride. His blue-eyed soul interpretation features a brief but powerful detour into Amazing Grace. This song expresses my gratitude for God's unfailing love and fills me with the Holy Spirit.

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