The other day I was scrolling through Facebook and saw that someone had posted a review of the song “Reckless Love”, saying it was making a false claim about God. “The love of God can be overwhelming and endless, but it is never reckless. It is sovereign, specific, sumptuous and efficient! said the post. Unsurprisingly, the comments erupted into arguments, with some saying God’s love is “reckless” in the sense of recklessness and persistence, and others saying the statement completely defies Christian doctrine and that we should opt for it. for a better word such as “relentless”.
It made me think. When we sing contemporary worship songs in church, do we really know what we are singing? Take the song “Who You Say I Am” from Hillsong Worship. Honestly, the track isn’t really about God himself. He talks about who God makes we. As in these words: “In my father’s house / there is a place for me / I am a child of God, yes I am” and “I am who you say I am.
I think these words take comfort from us – and make no mistake, comfort is a good thing! But when we stand on the pews and stretch our arms out to the sky, is it better for us to sing “Christ be magnified” or “I am a child of God”?
I’m not the type to talk about the foundations of Christian doctrine or whether something is blasphemy or misunderstanding, but this idea of comfort speaks to me personally. There was a time in my life when I chose to feel closer to God by searching the internet for a sermon – any sermon given by any pastor, just one that was about what I was going through at the era.
I realize now that I wasn’t looking for a sermon, I was looking for a pep talk. Something to reassure me that I was okay. Something to give me advice on what I was going through at the time. It was pretty selfish in the sense that I didn’t want to honor God, I just wanted to hear all the great things He could do for me.
It’s just a personal experience, but I think it’s relevant for a lot of Christians (and not just for young people). So, do we want to worship God or be reassured?
Coming back to Hillsong, the facts are the facts: we are children of God, saved and renewed by Jesus Christ. But I still think it’s healthy to criticize songs of worship that seem to draw our attention inward rather than redirect us to Christ.
I don’t hate contemporary Christian music. When people sing lyrics like “I am a child of God” while they close their eyes, what matters at that time is how they interpret those words personally. For example, they could change this saying to “I am a child of the divine, holy and true God! However, some people (ahem, me) might be confused by words like this, thinking, “I thought I was going to church to forget myself for a moment. Why do these words speak me? ”
The big problem is that I see church worship as a time of community among other Christians. and a personal experience. While some people enjoy the words while others shake their heads, the church looks less like a safe place to commune and more like a competition to see who does the best worship.
Worship is a sacred task that should not be accomplished without giving ourselves fully to God at this time. As I’ve learned, it’s not just a way to feel better. If I wanted to do that, I could go listen to my rock mix on Spotify. But worship is a way of recognizing that God is greater than our problems (and the problems of the church!) Ever will be. When we stand on the benches and extend our arms to the sky, the divinity of God is all that matters. The songs we sing should always represent that.
Photo by Union University.