Tag Archives: singing

Worship Songs

Yay, blogging again! It’s been a while. Thought I’d jot some thoughts down about worship songs after spending some brain-time on it today (I bill my brain by the minute for thinking about stuff. It gets expensive).

I should note that I’ve never really written a worship song I’m happy with, but I figure commenting on them can’t be any worse than movie critics who only like arty movies no one understands, despite never having touched a camera in their life.

I like songs that tell a story. To me, a chorus is the summary, like the introduction of an essay except more interesting (hopefully). It lays out all your main points. Then the verses dig deeper into the story and lay it out in more detail. And the bridge, if you have one, tells you the happy ending.

Then worship songs have this extra element in them: Christianese. Christianese is a language made up of words only Christians understand, or pretend to understand. This is what causes those moments halfway through the church service where you’re singing and realise you have no idea what you’re actually singing about. To illustrate, I’ll annotate a very popular and (in my opinion) pretty cool worship song:

How Great is Our God

The splendour of a king
Clothed in majesty
Let all the earth rejoice
All the earth rejoice
This verse is pretty user-friendly. There’s not many kings in the world these days, but people understand they’re supposed to be pretty splendiferous. No one says rejoice any more except in church, but we all know what it means.

He wraps Himself in light
And darkness tries to hide
And trembles at His voice
Trembles at His voice
I think this verse is my favourite. It’s got a bit of a superhero theme. Jesus is the hero with a blinding cape chasing the dark side, which runs away if Jesus even talks!

How great is our God
Sing with me, how great is our God
And all will see, how great, how great is our God
Not sure about the grammar in the last line, but Chris Tomlin isn’t famous for that anyway (Our God is healer?). Repetition either reinforces the point or gets very tedious depending on your perspective.

Age to age He stands
And time is in His hands
Beginning and the end
Beginning and the end
Despite most people using the word ‘ages’ in any situation where they have to wait longer than five minutes, I think most people understand that an age is a long time. So even the uninitiated should be able to tell that this means God is very old. Or has very sore legs.

The godhead three in one
This could get very confusing for newbie Christians, have you soon how many heads some hindu gods have?
Father, Spirit, Son
The lion and the lamb
The lion and the lamb
This is where things get really deep. Most Christians, when pushed to think of a lion relevant to their faith, would probably think of Aslan. Those who have heard of the lion of Judah would know it’s Jesus, but not why. Most Christians know Jesus is the lamb of God and have a basic background in Hebrew sacrificial rituals, but do not have enough time to mentally process this even when repeating the line.

Name above all names
This is Christianese, but fairly easy to decipher. Most people have a concept of some names being worth more than others. Ask anyone to list soft drink brands and they’ll think of Coke before Pepsi. Failing all that, the fact that the line contains a superlative (above all) gives the general impression that God’s Name must be pretty awesome, which anyone can understand.
Worthy of all praise
My heart will sing how great is our God

Old Meets New

Tonight we watched the Last Samurai at our flat. I’m not really a big Tom Cruise fan. I think he does awesome movies that’d be even better if someone else starred in them. One of the cool things about the Last Samurai is before the last battle, he is presented with a sword with a Japanese inscription on the blade “This sword belongs to the warrior in whom the old ways meet the new.” Can’t remember if that’s the exact wording of it, but you get the idea.

Every time I see the movie that line makes me smile, cause I think that’s what every warrior should be like. In our battle to see people come to know Jesus, where satan will try to pull them any other way he can, we need to know what’s important. I think often as the church we find ourselves going one way or the other. Continue reading

A lil Update 28/02/09

Well, it’s been a busy week, haven’t posted here in a couple of days, so here’s the lowdown on what’s been keeping me busy:

Thursday night,  the Christian Union and International Christian Fellowship at Vic Uni had a returnees dinner, followed by orientation training and overnight prayer.

The returnees dinner was awesome, heaps of people turned up, the food was great, got to catch up with some people I haven’t seen much of recently. It was a great way to regain that sense of family and community (two overused but very applicable words that have so few synonyms that give the same meaning) that we all missed so much over the summer.

Orientation training was a great chance to communicate with everyone the exciting ideas that we have for letting first year Christians know we exist, and how we can support them and befriend them. Also people really got on board with what we can do for non-Christians at uni, and how we can love them, which is great. I wasn’t at all of orientation training, cause I was in my room typing up lyrics for the songs for the overnight prayer meeting.

Overnight prayer started with a bang, and though it decreased in volume over time as some people vacated the room to chase the forty winks that were teasingly calling their names in forty part harmony, the momentum never dwindled. We had a great time, singing, praying and thinking our way through the first hour of songs. As we prayed through the night, starting with prayer for our own groups and slowly expanding our horizons till at 4am we were praying for student mission nation-wide, and at 5am, worldwide.

At 6am most people went on a prayer walk while two of us stayed to cook breakfast. I hear the sunrise was beautiful. After filling up on bacon, sausages, hash browns, scrambled eggs and bread (with a good kiwi dose of tomato sauce), there was plenty of leftovers, and gradually people went home.

The night was fantastic, we all knew God was present, but we could also see Him in the passion of our prayers. A great foundation was laid for a year of student ministry more fervent and bold than ever before. God is good, and we will see salvation come to many of our fellow students this year, I believe that fully.

I caught four hours sleep over lunchtime, then headed to work (I work in after school childcare). Straight after work was the Twenty20 New Zealand vs. India match, which was very tense as the Black Caps beat the Rockstars of Cricket by one run on the last ball.

Then I got a lift home, walked in at about 11:30, cooked up some sausages that ended up being a curry including carrots, kidney beans, rice, tomato, coconut cream, chopped tomatoes and more, as a friend joined me and we kept adding to it, much like the old stone soup story. Except it was sausage curry hehe.

Then after finally getting to sleep, I caught my own forty winks several times over before getting up at 9am for TSCF small group leaders training today. Then after six hours of that, we went to the supermarket, came home and cleaned out the whole house, ate dinner at 9pm, lit a bonfire, and now here I am at almost midnight telling you how mental it’s all been. And with two weeks of clubs days coming up, it’s not about to slow down. I’m not complaining, but I do hope I get enough sleep. Well anyway, better edit this now before I post it.

As I type, RelientK‘s “The Only Thing Worse Than Beating a Dead Horse is Betting on One” is playing. Title’s longer than the 1:14 track.