Tuesday, January 31, 2012


Don't you love how a song takes you back to specific places and times in your history?  I do!  Now that I'm 30, I can turn on the basic, light rock station in our area and hear songs from high school.  This makes me feel old every time, but that only lasts a second before I immerse myself in songs, mindsets, and memories from the 1990's. 

As I participated in worship at church Sunday morning, I was whisked back to my freshman year of college with "Open the Eyes of My Heart."  That freshman year of college was when I discovered contemporary worship music.  Those songs are old now, but they take me back to a place of spiritual growth, struggle, and richness. 

When it comes to worship music, I don't really have one style that I like.  As a kid, I attended a very large Baptist church like you can only have or understand south of the Virginia state line.  You put 100 people in a choir, 100 people who can and do sing their parts, 10 of whom are phenomenal solosits--all belting out a hymn like "Majesty" on Easter morning.  Wow.  I remember being quite young and being profoundly moved by such worship music.

As that little girl, my favorite song was, "I Have Decided to Follow Jesus."  Want a quick way to bring tears to my eyes (They're there now.), play that song.  Imagine a 9-year-old, blonde-haired (If you know what my son looks like, picture hair that color), blue-eyed, very petite little girl singing that song and meaning every single word.  That was me.

Fast forward to college, and I devoured worship music CD's from Third Day to Sonic Flood to Wow Worship--yes, really.  Then, there was Sammy's friend, Ryan Newcomb.  Give him a guitar and a mic, and I'll stand and worship all day.  I distinctly remember his covering Delirious' "Did you hear the mountains tremble?"  We were in the mountains of Lynchburg when we sang that song, and yes, I heard them tremble.

Then, there are the countless vocalists at my present church who can guide me to transcend my first or second row seat and to enter the presence of God.  Beth, Lindsay, Kevin, Sandra (even though she's not here, I can dream), Paul...and then there's Sarah Brawley.  Bring out the tissues, please. Give that girl a mic, and once gain, I could stand and worship..and cry...all day.

I cannot sing at all.  My husband, who can carry a tune, sincerely and kindly says I'm tone deaf.  I don't doubt it.  But I do enjoy worshipping God with music.  Give me hymns and pianos, or a single voice and a guitar, or a full band.  I like it all.  The dancer in me loves the rhythms, and more than once I'll be in a church service wishing I was dancing to a song.  The reader, writer, grammar policeman in me loves the words.  And I MEAN THEM.  My biggest pet peeve with corporate "worship" is mindless repetition of words in a hymnal or on a printout or on a screen.  I simply cannot stand it.  We are worshipping God, singing words to Him; He is our audience.  If we're mindlessly repeating words, or saying words in song that we don't mean, then we are lying to God.  So, I'll sing just about any kind of song to God in worship.  But I will mean the words I say.  Sometimes, that means I keep my mouth shut during a line, or a verse, or a chorus, or even a whole song. 


  1. I'm really enjoying reading your blog. I agree with so much of what you say. So much agreement about Sarah Brawley, too. Even if I'm playing or singing with her, I have trouble keeping it together through all the emotion when that girl sings.

  2. I have had to shut my mouth during a "line, verse or chorus." It is pretty humbling.
    Thanks for the reminder.

  3. Beautiful, Angie! I love reading about your experiences with older hymns. I couldn't listen to them for the longest time. Not that they're bad at all; quite the contrary. I just associated them with difficult periods of time and experiences. Now, after getting past that, it's incredible to go back and really pore over the words.

  4. This brings to mind Matt Redman's "The Heart of Worship" & the story behind it. It's easy at times to get "caught up" in everything else whether it's hymns or contemporary worship -- but a reminder that they're more than "mere words" that we're singing. It's our hearts that we bring to Him ... and God knows our hearts better than we know them ourselves.