Transitioning to Love The Old


Transitioning to love the old.

In another post referring to old and older Dan wrote:

“For me, it’s like the teenager who can’t hear the Dad, but will listen to the grandfather. Then we mature, and the Dad starts to make sense – just when our teenagers are starting to disdain us…”

For me history has been like that, except taken a step further. Hymns and gospel songs were attached to the folks who were telling me that my musical leanings and expressions were not just invalid, but sinful based on style. This gave the music they loved an association that took me many years to overcome. Even now most gospel music as much as I may believe the writers truly love the Lord and wrote worship from their hearts stir the wrong response in me.

But time went on and I grew. Eventually I let those who could not get past a particular form of expression be left to their own arguments, since it neither enlightened them nor encouraged me to engage in the discussion. I guess I just walked out on it. Since then I have seen those who originally thought poorly of the style I loved embrace it. Now they stick to that style and reject the next one. I learned an important thing:

Change is hard for most people.

Fighting for acceptance of a style is inconsequential compared to Martin Luther’s Wittenburg Door posting, where he challenged the way the church was selling forgiveness to the highest bidders. This was an issue of heresy, and to stick with his beliefs cost him. Yet he purchased for us a new foundation to stand on, and we have benefited from it.

So I learned to let the small stuff be small stuff. I started looking again at the hymns and found that there was a richness in them. The writers of the time knew that many in their congregation could not read or did not have a bible. So the songs they learned defined their theology. Many songs had numerous verses that were whittled down to fit into today’s hymnals.

This engaged me as I had begun to write worship songs myself. I found that the typical verse / chorus / bridge / repeat verse / chorus / chorus format didn’t fit, because I wanted to make a more complete statement than that.

The I learned from one of Dan’s teachings about the Celts and how they integrated worship into life. Every part of life could become an acknowledgment of God. This was huge to me because I could see how my life and all of those around me became so swallowed up in tasks and work and chores that spiritual life got choked out.

So now this part of the old has become very important to me. It is a battle to pursue it, but my hunger is to get into a pattern of a life of acknowledging worship woven into all of my movements of the day.

Recently a friend wrote a new melody to an old tune: “Just as I Am” written by Charlotte Elliott. The hymn had not meant much to me growing up, because I always associated it with the Billy Graham meetings, and while I thought Billy Graham was doing a great thing, it was just part of that scenery for me and didn’t feel very relevant to life.

Then Robin (my friend) played this song with a new melody. I was in a place of being overwhelmed by life and had many things crashing in at the time. Those words sung in a new way, swept me into a time of surrender to the Lord.

Just as I am, though tossed about
With many a conflict, many a doubt,
Fightings and fears within, without,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

Just as I am, Thou wilt receive,
Wilt welcome, pardon, cleanse, relieve;
Because Thy promise I believe,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

This was where I was at. It hit me and helped me to find that place of surrender.

And so the old has become precious. Not all of it, but some parts that cause me to resonate in my life.

“Time tested” is a phrase we sometimes use and can use in this context. Much of the old has been established and tested by time, and found to have merit. We need not start making the wheel from scratch. It as been done before. It is worth looking to see what they have done, even if some of the wheel makers are not trustworthy. It is worth diggin for. There’s gold to be mined. There are others who can show us the way.


Posted on October 10, 2008, in study, theology, worship and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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