Worship Music for the Second Half of Life

When I got to be a certain age, my relationship to worship music changed. Up to a certain point I enjoyed things that had a good melody and were fun to sing, that my kids enjoyed — and if I related to the lyrics in some way, so much the better. Then I passed some age and life experience milestones — a chronic illness, the illness and death of my father, the growing up of my children, perhaps — and I began to think about worship music for the sad and trying times in life.

Someone described to me a deathbed vigil where family members had sung the dying family member’s favorite hymns. It had brought great comfort to all involved, she said. It’s easy to imagine how familiar hymns would have power to comfort and help when there is not much left to say.

It troubled me then that I knew the lyrics of so few hymns. I didn’t even have any favorite hymns, none that had built up familiar and comforting associations for me. Yet the upbeat pop songs we sang in church wouldn’t transfer well to deathbed conditions. (Maybe I lack imagination. Maybe they will serve just fine in that capacity to the generation that grew up with them and loves them.)

So I began to think about the value of cultivating familiarity with a body of worship music that had power to comfort and proven durability, and this is a goal of mine for the next season of my life.

Today I came across a short article offering thoughts on what makes a good hymn last. The Richness of Our Faith, A Conversation with David Neff

Hat tip: Ancient Evangelical Future

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About katiekind

Enjoying the second half of life. I have three sons who are the apples of my eye and a wonderful husband of 35 years--those are the important things. Long ago, out of the blue, I became a Christian. It was something I never planned on, but what joy it has been. I do website development and I like to read and garden and paint and I love beauty and truth.
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3 Responses to Worship Music for the Second Half of Life

  1. TulipGirl says:

    At this point in my life I find hymns. . . comforting. And I do have emotional ties to some (thanks to my Cousin Judy bringing me to Sunday School when I was a preschooler, and the hymns sung at the base chapel when I was a child.) One of the issues I’ve had (personally) with feeling “at home” in a church in the States is that the neighborhood, denominational church which I desire to attend has three services–one Sat night which I assume tends to be quite modern, a Sunday morning contemporary service–both of which I’d likely have preferred at a different time in life. But the Sunday morning “traditional” service. . . isn’t. It has some hymns, some re-worked hymns, some choruses–all theologically sound and all of which I don’t have a problem with. The doxology is sung to a modern tune. And the traditional service just. . . isn’t traditional.

    And that’s okay. Really it is. But it isn’t comforting. After being in Ukraine, it is easier for me to divorce cultural preferences from Biblical directives. (Well, somewhat. . . I’m still seeing from my own perspective.) And on a theological level I support the contextualization of the Gospel, I support culturally diverse corporate worship.

    But for me, at this point in my life, I want to worship God within a cultural context in which I feel “at home.” I don’t need it. . . I rejoice that we can worship with the Church in whatever situation. But a traditional liturgy, text-rich hymns, the ritual of worship. . . right now that is what I’m missing.

  2. barb kilby says:

    I heard a comment once about certain beliefs “they are like a kayak–good for shallow water but you wouldn’t want to take one on a ocean voyage.” I totally understand how after a lot of water has run under the bridge how substance is craved. You always get me thinking Katie

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