The only thing I really dislike about church these days is ... singing. I have spent my life singing in various contexts, as a child, as an adult, along with music, on my own, with others -and in various church contexts have sung probably every hymn and worship song around. It isn't simply that my voice is failing and that I cannot sing properly anymore, although that is an increasingly uncomfortable obstacle to overcome - I think it is more than that. Today for example, the kids talk was great, the times of quiet reflection and prayer were helpful, communion was meaningful, and the sermon useful, solid exegesis; however I am increasingly finding the church music a distracting obstacle to overcome in order to present myself in a worshipful frame of mind to God. What makes it worse is that I am struggling both with the musical style which we use - and some of the lyrical content offered. In short, I am sometimes invited to sing songs I don't identify with, in a musical format that makes me cringe.. sometimes deeply.
It isn't simply a case that we don't import the latest trendy worship songs from the conference circuit because these can be amongst the worse offenders. Today for example, meaningful worship was facilitated in songs such as "Great is Thy Faithfulness". I was conscious the whole time of my Grandma's failing health in the hospital, this was uplifting, and faith-nurturing. The new song sung however, was from the very bottom drawer of the "Jesus loves you Boogaloo" school of songwriting, with vacuous theology and a tune so twee it could have come from Mary Poppins. Such things make me feel almost entirely alienated, and frankly depressed.
Do you know what I would really like? A complete rest from singing in church. Even if it were only for a few months -perhaps that would rekindle my enthusiasm. Perhaps it would enable us to find other ways of expressing our praise, and it might also facilitate some serious thinking about the purpose of church music, rather than the assumption that singing is what we must always do when we meet together! (There is a biblical mandate to sing, but no indication that this must form the essential content of every meeting of believers.)
The other thing I would really like would be to meet with other people, read the Bible together, pray together, share needs and support one another - without a cheesy musical accompaniment....... so, see you at housegroup!!