Service rolls on this Saturday (7-9-16) at Holy Cross Lutheran Church. Our church jumped into the ‘comfort dog ministry’ with our own caring canine. Her name is Naomi, a fine dog, ready to serve the lonely, scared and heartbroken. It’s hard not to like most dogs and she is no exception. I’m thinking she’s likely to be needed at those Sunday services when Purdue loses a football game the day before.
I’ve read some articles and spoken to some peeps, mostly men, who don’t like to sing songs during worship service. Some say the songs are kind of twinky, like love songs a girl would sing about a boy. Others say the songs are too hard to sing, that their voices can’t handle the tune or the lyrics are difficult to enunciate when paired with awkward, Middle Ages rhythms. Still others just don’t like to sing, usually the result of a stinging rebuke levied by a music teacher or uncaring neighbor long ago.
Our first song today was Here I Am To Worship. As I sang along I thought that this song, though not all songs, can be sung/said as a prayer. Instead of thinking, “Oh, jibbers, I don’t want to sing”, consider uttering the words as a prayer. Here are its lyrics written as a prayer. (Words in parentheses added by me).
(Dear Father in Heaven,)
Light of the world, You stepped down into darkness. Open my eyes, Let me see, (the) beauty that made this heart adore You.
Hope of a life, spent with You. Here I am to worship. Here I am to bow down. Here I am to say that You’re my God. You’re altogether lovely, altogether worthy, altogether wonderful to me. King of all days, oh, so highly exalted, glorious in Heaven above. Humbly You came, to the earth You created, all for love’s sake, became poor.
Another hymn that works well is Amazing Grace
Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost, but now am found, was blind but now I see. It was Grace that taught my heart to fear and Grace, my fears relieved. How precious did that grace appear the hour I first believed. Through many dangers, toils and snares we have already come. It was grace that brought us safe thus far And grace will lead us home.
Not perfect but doable.
Even some lyrics from secular songs could be used as prayers, with some tweaking of course. Here are the lyrics, with limited editing, to Led Zeppelin’s song, Bron Y Aur Stomp submitted as a prayer.
(Dear Father in Heaven)
( I ) caught you smiling at me – that’s the way it should be, like a leaf is to a tree, so fine. All the good times we had, I sang love songs so glad, Always smiling, never sad, so fine. As we walk down the country lanes I’ll be singing a song, You hear me calling your name. Hear the wind within the trees telling Mother Nature ’bout you and me. Well, if the sun shines so bright, or our way is darkest night, the road we choose is always right, so fine. Can a love be so strong when so many loves go wrong. Will our love go on and on and on and on and on and on?
We’d have to deal with the ‘Mother Nature’ part, but the rest sounds like a conversation with The Lord.
Naturally, most rock’n’roll lyrics wouldn’t fit well in the prayer genre. Most notable is White Room by Cream.
In the white room with black curtains near the station. Blackroof country, no gold pavements, tired starlings. Silver horses ran down moonbeams in your dark eyes, dawnlight smiles on you leaving, my contentment. I’ll wait in this place where the sun never shines.
I think you know what I’m getting at. Anyway, next time you go to church, rather than just blowing off the songs and doodling on your service folder, just look at the lyrics as prayers and see if that helps.
Today’s lesson centered on The Good Samaritan (Luke 10:15-27). It’s not just finding someone on the road to Jericho lying in a heap because robbers beat him to a pulp and carrying him to an inn. It’s also helping your mother with the dishes. It’s also helping a short person who can’t reach the top shelf. It’s also helping a workmate carry his work in from his car. It’s also helping your sister with her homework. It’s also helping dad spread the mulch out back. It’s also comforting a friend who has received shocking news. It’s also pulling over to protect a person in a disabled car. It’s also calling for medical assistance because you’re not a doctor. It’s simple stuff, it’s difficult stuff, it’s stuff you aren’t trained for. But it’s all stuff you can help with.
Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’