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Sitting in my church choir on Wednesday nights for practice is a great time of worship and social interaction with church members. I love to sing and use my voice to worship the Lord! Many times our choir director will end practice with the list of songs we will be singing on Sunday. Typically one or two choir songs and then several hymns. On several occasions I find that I do not know the hymns. We don’t practice them and well, I wasn’t raised on hymns.
When I say something about this to a church member beside me the reaction is either, “Sure you do. You’ve probably sung it a hundred times.” OR “How do you NOT know that song?”
How many of you grew up on hymns?
I’m sure many of you did. If you were raised in a southern baptist home I am almost certain of it. But you see my background is not terribly different than many of my church members’ or you fellow southern baptist except for this hymn thing.
I was raised in a christian home, attending southern baptist churches, but they were always extremely contemporary. My parents love music and found it easier to worship in modern churches. I honestly have not heard all of the hymns and definitely only know the most popular ones (mostly because there are contemporary versions of them out in the world). So although both myself and the choir members I am talking with have both been raised in the church many of them look at me as if I have three heads when I inform them I truly do not know the song because I have never heard it, sung it, or seen it.
For a long time it bothered me that people assumed I didn’t have a “good christian background” just because I didn’t know the hymn we would be singing that week. Then one night at choir everything switched. The choir director was introducing a new song to the choir. It was a Chris Tomlin song that had been on the radio for years and I was so excited. I knew this song like the back of my hand and could not wait to get to sing it in worship. The older choir members around me were frustrated with the song they had never heard of and I became shocked!
How do you NOT know this song? It’s been on 104.7 the Fish for years! It’s Chris Tomlin! He lives right here in Atlanta!!!
Nope. Nothing. They truly didn’t know the song, artist, radio station, or church Mr. Tomlin serves in.
Am I really having this moment?
We were both shocked by the other’s lack of knowledge of the worship songs we loved and preferred. We were both guilty of the same thing. We were both wrong.
You see, although I may not know the hymns we are singing and they may not know the contemporary worship music we are learning we are both called to worship the Lord with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength. It doesn’t matter what the song is, how it sounds, or what we prefer. The focus of our worship should be soully on our heavenly Father.
After this night I was able to view worship in a whole new light. No longer am I so frustrated with hymns. I still don’t know them all, but I have become more aware of there words, meanings, and worshipful feel. God is still working on my heart of worship and growing within me each time I sing to Him.