Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Are You Amazed?

When it comes to church music, I can be kind of old school. I prefer older hymns to newer contemporary praise songs most of the time. An older hymn usually has more depth and is overall more thoughtful on biblical content. Some of the more contemporary praise music in my opinion can sound like something teens write when they are in a superficial dating relationship that does not last long. Again, this is my opinion. 

But whether it is an older hymn or newer praise song, there is a way which all of our songs ought to be sung: with amazement. 

Two older hymns steer us in this direction. Amazing Grace by John Newton, which is familiar to most, and also Alas! and Did My Savior Bleed by Isaac Watts, which may be a little less familiar, but rich with Christ-centered content. Here are the words of amazement that have been sung by throngs throughout generations in the church,  

Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, 
That saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now I’m found, 
was blind but now I see!
(Amazing Grace)

Was it for crimes that I had done, 
He groaned upon the tree?
Amazing pity! grace unknown! 
And love beyond degree!
(Alas! and Did My Savior Bleed)

Both of these hymns connect human amazement to God’s grace and mercy poured out on the unworthy sinners who sing. This is how we are to sing about our Savior. The problem with the default setting of our heart is that we can begin to sing without amazement. 

But the gospel should always amaze us! The fact that Jesus Christ came to this world to save unworthy sinners like you and me should never cease to amaze us (1 Tim 1:15). So a good question for us to ask ourselves when we are getting ready to sing: are we still amazed? My generation values transparency in worship. A greater value should be amazement though, for that is when worship is truly directed toward Christ and the gospel.   

And that is the legacy that a couple of dead hymn writers wanted to leave to us. They are now singing in genuine, transparent, perfect, and undistracted amazement. And we are preparing to sing with them in eternal amazement as we sojourn on this earth.