Each and every week, our Worship Band is hard at work preparing music for Sunday service. From contemporary pop and rock artists like Chris Tomlin, Casting Crowns, and MercyMe to Michael W. Smith, Hillsong, Don Moen and more, we’re learning Christian music from a variety of genres and challenging ourselves to be as versatile and well-rounded as possible!
As we prepare different music from different perspectives each week, it fascinates me to think about the mindset and individual faith of each of these artists when they initially wrote these amazing songs. Songwriting in itself is unquestionably a challenge – arranging chords, vocal melodies, and song structures takes dedication to the craft and instinct on how to make the music flow in the most effective way…but what were each of these artists going through when they wrote these songs? Were they dealing with struggle or challenge in their lives? Were they celebrating that their strength and faith in God happened to be as powerful and as meaningful as it had ever been?
Each week, I try to select songs that strike me initially as being emotionally complete – meaningful messages that focus on the theme of worship for that particular week of service. Our amazing Lord has blessed all of us with an incredible range of feeling and emotion, and within these worship songs you’ll find all of our humanity on display – songs of struggles, songs of despair, songs of ecstasy, songs of extolling the unmatched sacrifice made by Jesus as he went to His death in payment for our sins.
Honoring the Lord through poetry and song knows no bounds – just read the Book of Psalms! David pours his heart out to the Lord about the major events of his time, such as the Lord coming to the defense of Israel against marauding armies, the Lord’s love for the weak and those in poverty, David’s personal faith, and even Psalm 22, when begins when David cries out in anguish “My God, why have you forsaken me?” The entire gamut of human emotion can be found in the Psalms – it reads as a diary of one man’s life and journey of faith through poetry, song, and prayer…and it’s infinitely fascinating to imagine and comprehend David’s state of mind when he wrote each of them.
Thousands of years after the Psalms were written, today’s worship music truly follows suit! It’s not always about being in perfect harmony with God, and existence – it’s about our individual journeys of faith, the highs and lows of life, experience, faith, growth and empowerment. These are the paths that the Lord sets in front of all of us, and we can further grow in faith by reflecting on the perspectives and experiences of those around us who are drawn to share through song!
During service at Bethel St. Paul, take a moment to reflect on the full impact of the music presented by the Worship Band. Think about the original artist’s perspective and attitude reflected not only in the lyrics, but also the tempo and energy of the song. I can truly say this — doing so has brought me deeper insight, empathy, and appreciation for the faith journeys that all of us experience, and inspires me in worship every day!