Drone to the Lord or Shout to the Lord?

Psalm 63:7
for you have been my help, and in the shadow of your wings I will sing for joy.

Today I attended early church, yes people, Hildy went to early church!  I attended with a friend who is a morning person (let me insert a quick sidebar here that my ears were so happy because he can sing, he can really sing!) and out of the kindness of my heart I agreed to attend the early, traditional service if only we could stay for the contemporary singing at the beginning the later service, a request to which my friend agreed out of the kindness of his heart.

I have a staid, boring Lutheran background- dead of faith, dead of life, dead of relationship.  Music at Sunday services was liturgical or out of a hymnal.  Boring!  So imagine my delight to discover praise and worship during my college’s daily chapel services!  I thought I’d died and gone to heaven.  I was converted.  I only want to sing hymns at Easter and Christmas, that’s it.  Fast forward a decade or two and I find myself with a friend who grew up (I am assuming) with praise and worship music and upon stepping into adulthood has set those praise and worship songs aside and developed a preference for, gasp, hymns!

I should confess that I don’t hate hymns and in fact have decided that I actually like them, well, some of them.  I confess also that I hate the repetition of worship songs ad nauseam.  When I attend church with my mother, she doesn’t get sick but instead she whistles when she tires of the repetition, thus adding an additional, pleasant musical element to the worship time while still making clear to all around her that it is time to move on worship team, time to move on.

I tell you all of this to get to this fabulous joke sent to me today.  How perfect is this? (Obtained from Crosswalk.com You Make Me Laugh newsletter.)

Hymns vs. Choruses

An old farmer went to the city one weekend and attended the big city church. He came home and his wife asked him how it was.

“Well,” said the farmer, “it was good. They did something different, however. They sang praise choruses instead of hymns.”

“Praise choruses?” said his wife. “What are those?”

“Oh, they’re OK. They are sort of like hymns, only different,” said the farmer.

“Well, what’s the difference?” asked his wife.

The farmer said, “Well, it’s like this – If I were to say to you “Martha, the cows are in the corn”‘ – well, that would be a hymn. If on the other hand, I were to say to you:

Martha, Martha, Martha,
Oh Martha, MARTHA, MARTHA,
the cows, the big cows, the brown cows, the black cows
the white cows,
the black and white cows,
the COWS, COWS, COWS
are in the corn,
are in the corn, are in the corn, are in the corn,
the CORN, CORN, CORN.

Then, if I were to repeat the whole thing two or three times, well, that would be a praise chorus.”

The next weekend, his nephew, a young, new Christian from the city came to visit and attended the local church of the small town. He went home and his mother asked him how it was.

“Well,” said the young man, “it was good. They did something different however. They sang hymns instead of regular songs.”

“Hymns?” asked his mother. “What are those?”

“Oh, they’re OK. They are sort of like regular songs, only different,” said the young man.

“Well, what’s the difference?” asked his mother.

The young man said, “Well, it’s like this – If I were to say to you ‘Martha, the cows are in the corn’ – well, that would be a regular song. If on the other hand, I were to say to you:

Oh Martha, dear Martha, hear thou my cry
Inclinest thine ear to the words of my mouth
Turn thou thy whole wondrous ear by and by
To the righteous, inimitable, glorious truth.

For the way of the animals who can explain
There in their heads is no shadow of sense
Hearkenest they in God’s sun or His rain
Unless from the mild, tempting corn they are fenced.

Yea those cows in glad bovine, rebellious delight
Have broke free their shackles, their warm pens eschewed
Then goaded by minions of darkness and night
They all my mild Chilliwack sweet corn have chewed.

So look to the bright shining day by and by
Where all foul corruptions of earth are reborn
Where no vicious animals make my soul cry
And I no longer see those foul cows in the corn.’

Then if I were to do only verses one, three and four and do a key change on the last verse, well that would be a hymn.

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The Great Comedian in the Sky

One of my favorite things about God is His sense of humor- it’s a beaut!  All you have to do is take a look around your life and see all the funny creatures, people and situations with which we are surrounded.  I imagine my favorite pastime in heaven will be hanging out with Jesus and some of my most beloved ones having a good chuckle, some hearty giggles- all of us laughing till we cry, pee our pants, and ache from the sheer pleasure of laughing together.  I am in full agreement with Jane Austen’s fictional character Elizabeth Bennet when she said. “I do so love to laugh.”

I’ve been doing some wistful thinking lately- you know the kind were reality is light years away but somewhere inside is a little part of yourself that wants the wistful thought to be a reality, if not an absolute.  Just the other day, shortly after having a paragraph of these thoughts,  God used a phone call to make it abundantly, tragically apparent how silly these thoughts were and for a moment reality left me bereft, but then I saw the comedy of error.  I laughed and thanked God that He chose a gentle loving way to show me how comically out of touch my thinking was.  I love that God made me laugh instead of cry.  God is good all the time…all the time God is good.

Caution conviction: right, left and straight ahead!

I think God is trying to tell me something.  I may have been ignoring Him.

I have been listening to sermons while at work lately.  It helps a day filled with mindlessness fly past.  Mostly I have been listening to Irwin McManus from Mosiac, a gigantic multi-cultural church in Los Angeles.  He is a charismatic teacher who preaches straight from the Bible.  I also go to a weekly bible study titled Believing God, at which we view a video message from Beth Moore.

The funny thing is I have been getting convicted at every turn.  Doesn’t matter what the topic of the sermon is, it cuts right to the core of me.  My spirit is sitting up and paying attention.  I think that I am not living rightly in ANY area of my life.  These sermons are all different topics!  In the past when God has wanted to get my attention He has had bring the same topic to me from several different areas enabling me to easily grasp what it is He is communicating.  But what am I to do with stuff from all across everywhere?  That is why I think He is telling me my whole life is being lived wrongly, selfishly, unGodly.  Uh, now what?

How can YOU bless ME? Let me count the ways!

James 2:17
So also faith, if it does not have works (deeds and actions of obedience to back it up), by itself is destitute of power (inoperative, dead).

Today was a fabulous day.  One of the best of the summer.  Why was it so fabulous?  Because it was filled with so many emotions that have been missing from my life: excitement, abandonment,  joy, anticipation, thrill-ation, angst, fear and  pleasure.  Excitement at what I had gone and done; abandonment because I set aside me and focused on Him ( I obeyed!  I obeyed!);  joy at the planning, picking, and choosing of the gift and its message; the sheer deliciousness of the anticipation of waiting for it to be discovered; thrill-ation at the thought of the “Hildy…” I would hear in a serious tone that would then be cast aside, replaced by, if not understanding, then acceptance; angst at a snafoo that ruined the grandeur of the surprise; fear that the gift would be misunderstood, even refused; and (finally!) pleasure that the snafoo didn’t matter and the gift was received as intended and accepted as offered.  But best of all was the fact that I set aside my wishes and obeyed the leading of my Father.  If I had not obeyed, if I would have rationalized away this gift, I would not have experienced any of these emotions today, and honestly, they were worth every penny.  Every penny.