My original plan for The God of All Comfort was to base it solely on hymns. A good friend of mine heard me pontificating on why. “The best music is complex music. The 7/11 songs (seven words sung eleven times) bore me.”
Ann wrote me a dear and gracious letter which convicted me to the core. (The letter is in The God of All Comfort.) One sentence I particularly remember was “Dee: I know you would never criticize someone for praying simply. Why do you criticize the simple worship songs that stir peoples’ hearts?”
The next Sunday, my pastor, Mike Lano, preached on Ephesians 5:15-21, a passage we will look at thoughtfully for the next several days. He explained that the main point in this passage is:
I. Be filled with the Spirit (Ephesians 5:18) Then under that are the following evidences of being filled with the Spirit.
A. Speak to one another with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. (v. 19)
B. Submit to one another. (v. 21)
Pastor Lano explained that we need all three kinds of music in a worship service, for each has its unique value. While the older people tend to prefer the hymns, they should submit to the younger people, and sing those spiritual songs with their hearts. While the younger people tend to prefer the spiritual songs, they should submit to the older people and sing the hymns with their minds.
I was convicted and converted from being a hymn snob. Truly, I have come to see the great value in beautiful simple worship songs — that the repetition can be a contemplative exercise, bringing us into the arms of God.
This group has been wonderful in suggesting all three kinds of music to one another, referring us to u-tube, writing out lyrics, and sharing how specific songs have touched their hearts. You have also listened well to each other’s musical suggestions.
Before you look at the questions, I want you to know you are ministering to some women who are in “high-tide grief.” Their grief is so fresh and deep, they are not ready to participate, but they are writing to me, and they are thanking me for you. Please pray for them and continue to keep them in mind. Many of you have been comforted by The God of All Comfort and are able to therefore comfort others going through any kind of trouble.
1. Meditate on Ephesians 5:15-21. Take it slowly, praying through it, asking the Lord to help you see it anew. Share what you are seeing.
2. For those of you who have The God of All Comfort, you can read about this more carefully in the close of the chapter Songs in the Night. Share anything that stands out to you.
3. Think about songs of lament and share your favorite psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs of lament. This will minister to all of us, but especially to those in high tide grief.
4. What do you think this Ephesians passage says to churches that have a traditional service that is primarily hymns and a contemporary service that is primarily spiritual songs?
5. Why do you think music can be such a consolation? Why do you think singing is an evidence of being filled with the Spirit?
6. How do you need to be in submission to others in regard to music?