Monday, September 8, 2014

Old Lyrics + New Melodies = Memorable Message

I've been going to church all my life however I've mostly only attended modern or contemporary churches. It was a rare occasion that I was part of a traditional congregation. Hymnals were not the norm.. In fact slides and screens and projectors or song sheets or the norm. Church songs I grew up with weren't necessarily old hymns but more contemporary praise songs. So when I would hear old hymns I usually didn't pay much attention to the lyrics. I'm sad to say that the catchy rhythms of the 30s and 40s did an appeal to someone raised in the 90s.

However now songwriters are incorporating lyrics from old hymns and rewriting them into new and modern worship songs. The songs catch your attention with their driving feel but harken back to old for familiar lyrics written for hymnals long ago. Recently I've been struck by lyrics to two of these "hybrid" songs. I'm not sure if I ever would have paid attention to these lyrics and the old hymn version, but in the new these lyrics stood out and captured me in a way that only really good song lyrics can. They made me stop and really think about what the message behind the lyrics are. And in turn, I've developed a true appreciation for how lots of old hymns are jam packed full of truth nuggets like the below.

Old Song: On Christ the Solid Rock
New Song: Cornerstone
Meaningful lyrics/message: "In every high and stormy gale, my anchor holds within the veil. My anchor holds within the veil."

19 We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain, 20 where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf, having become a high priest forever after the order of Melchizedek. (Hebrews 6:19-20)

When bad things happen or when trying times come, the only stability and assurance I have is in Christ. My anchor, the thing that keeps me "grounded" and "solid" is strong within the covering of Jesus. To expound upon this further - When Jesus' death on the cross tore the veil (or curtain) to the Holy Place he became our intercessor. He has gone before and made a way for us to access the Father. Our steadfast hope is in the fact that we can approach God with confidence, having Christ as an intercessor on our behalf. What great hope!

Old Song: I Need Thee Every Hour
New Song: Lord, I Need You
Meaningful lyrics/message: "My one defense, my righteousness"

Okay, so this one isn't a direct takeaway from one song to the other, however they do resemble each other. In my mind, I put the two together so for the sake of this post...let's just pretend they go together. :) I was struck by the line in this song that says, "My one defense, my righteousness, Oh God, How I need you". The quote below really helps to enunciate my thoughts about this line:

Do you understand what it means that you have been given the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus? (II Cor. 5:21)  It means we are RIGHT with God.  It means when we fail, when we sin, when we fall, when we act inconsistently with who we really are that we can run boldly to the throne of grace! (Heb. 4:16 NOTHING can change the fact that you have been given HIS righteousness. You are in right standing with God and your behavior does NOT determine your identity.   When the enemy says, “Hang your head! Run and hide! And you call yourself a Christian?!”  You can hold your head high and say, “My one defense, my righteousness!” (source)

My "rightness" with God is my one defense against anything or anyone that tries to tell me otherwise. Yes, I am a sinner and I was born into a sin-nature...but...grace. Grace enables me to pursue righteousness and not just give up because I fail over and over again. My righteousness (my rightness in God's eyes) is the only thing that saves me.

I am by no means a religious scholar or even really that great at communicating my thoughts. However, I have been struck by these awesome song lyrics as of late and wanted to share with you. I hope you can glean from them truth and insight as well.


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