I grew up in a traditional Christian Reformed Church where we used the blue Psalter Hymnal. Don’t know how many of you remember that oldie? I quite frankly never got sick of it. I went to Christian schools my whole life so the “new” praise and worship songs were always a part of my life too. I feel I kind of got the best of both worlds. I am not oblivious to the fact though, that there is a definite battle in the church of what music should be sung in church. I hear it at the bookstore. I hear it at church. I hear it amongst Christians. I don’t understand why we sometimes argue over praising God. What I do understand is that as a body of Christ, when we are in church together, we need to be UNITED as one body. I get frustrated when we spend more time arguing over what needs to be sung than praising our heavenly Father. I will say I have personal preferences. But I was made for the Creator – not the Creator made for me. With that said, my life is not about me – it’s about God. Yup it’s hard sometimes when we sing a song and I don’t know it – but in reality, it’s about where my heart is. The other day at the bookstore, I had a couple come in and went off about music and was a little bothered at some of the music we sold. I kindly wanted to mention to them that many of the artists that we sell, are just answering the call on their life – to praise God with the harp; with the guitar; even with the turntable. (I did not say anything b/c I knew it wouldn’t go anywhere). If the only music we sold was “this” certain type of music, I feel there would only be “this” type of Christian out there. Is that what God desires? I’m not so sure about that.
But I do think that God wants unity in the church. That is why God has placed elders and deacons to help lead the church in the way it should go. He has entrusted these decisions to them. God desires order. Don’t get me wrong – I think each church needs to have it’s “boundaries” so to speak. If there was ONE right way of doing it, we would ALL be at that church. Ya know what I mean? Each church may do things a little differently – as long as they match up with God’s desires and what scripture says, then who are we to judge?
1 Corinthians 14:26 says: What then shall we say, brothers and sisters? When you come together, each of you has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. Everything must be done so that the church may be built up.
Built up. What does that look like? I can’t say I can fully answer that. I do think we need to remember that God needs to ultimately be glorified. And of course scripture gives us guidance:
Psalm 150 says:
1 Praise the LORD.
Praise God in his sanctuary;
praise him in his mighty heavens.
2 Praise him for his acts of power;
praise him for his surpassing greatness.
3 Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet,
praise him with the harp and lyre,
4 praise him with timbrel and dancing,
praise him with the strings and pipe,
5 praise him with the clash of cymbals,
praise him with resounding cymbals.
6 Let everything that has breath praise the LORD.
Praise the LORD.
Many different instruments are listed here. I’m imagining a PRETTY loud church service. The CLASH of cymbals. I remember in band, those cymbals can add quite a sound! This is all in PRAISE TO THE LORD. And, so that the church may be built up – not divided. When Christ hears us praising Him, does He want to see division? I don’t think so.
So whether it may be a song from the old blue Psalter Hymnal or a rendition of Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone) by Chris Tomlin – we need to remember we are praising God. If that is not happening, then we need to rethink what we are doing.
So, in appreciation for the blue Psalter, I have listed WAY MORE than 10 songs that I have really appreciated. Songs that have stuck in my head – I read the title and could start singing the song. I am thankful for the different styles of music and the different talents God has given His people! (I listed the page numbers just in case you have a blue psalter hymnal lying around and wanted to look these up)
Lord, Our Lord, Thy Glorious Name – pg. 13 psalm 8
The Heavens Declare Thy Glory – pg. 31 psalm 19
Amid the Thronging Worshipers – pg. 37 – psalm 22
God , Be Merciful To Me – pg. 94 psalm 51
Gracious God, My Heart Renew – pg. 95 psalm 51
It Is Good To Sing Thy Praises – pg. 180 – psalm 92
Now With Joyful Exultation – pg. 184 – pslam 95
Give Thanks to God, for Good Is He – pg. 284 – psalm 136
Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing – pg. 314 – psalm 314
Come, Thou Almighty King – pg. 317 –
Holy, Holy, Holy – pg. 318
Praise to the Lord, the Almighty – pg. 327
When I Survey the Wondrous Cross – pg. 350
Jesus, Keep Me Near The Cross – pg. 354
Christ The Lord Is Risen Today – pg. 356
Low In The Grave He Lay – pg. 357
Rejoice, The Lord Is King – pg. 368
Beautiful Savior – pg. 373
This Is My Father’s World – pg. 374
I Know Not Why God’s Wondrous Grace – 378
Amazing Grace! How Sweet The Sound – pg. 380
Not What My Hands Have Done – pg. 389
Dwell In Me, O Blessed Spirit – pg. 397
Great Is Thy Faithfulness – pg. 408
I Love To Tell The Story – pg. 412
Savior, Like A Shepherd Lead Us – pg. 417
Just As I Am, Without One Plea – pg. 424
What A Friend we Have in Jesus – pg. 436
Faith Of Our Fathers – pg. 443
A Mighty Fortress is Our God – pg. 444
When Peace Like a River – pg. 445
O Master, Let Me Walk with Thee – pg. 450
Take Time to Be Holy – pg. 451
Take My Life, and Let It Be – pg. 462
He Leadeth Me – pg. 463
God of Our Fathers pg. 476
O Jesus, I Have Promised – pg 480
Lead On, O King Eternal – pg. 484
So what do you think? How do you feel music has possible divided the church or even your church? What do you feel God’s desires are? Feel free to email me or comment below; I’d love to hear what you think!