Welcome to Varied Expressions of Worship

Welcome to Varied Expressions of Worship

This blog will be written from an orthodox Christian point of view. There may be some topic that is out of bounds, but at present I don't know what it will be. Politics is a part of life. Theology and philosophy are disciplines that we all participate in even if we don't think so. The Bible has a lot to say about economics. How about self defense? Is war ethical? Think of all the things that someone tells you we should not touch and let's give it a try. Everything that is a part of life should be an expression of worship.

Keep it courteous and be kind to those less blessed than you, but by all means don't worry about agreeing. We learn more when we get backed into a corner.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Opus 2011-252, The Need for Change

If you have the time go dig out your copy of The Screwtape Letters and read letter number 25.  Go ahead, I’ll wait.  If you don’t have a copy get one.  If you won’t get one then you will need t take my word for what it says.  If you have only time to read C.S. Lewis or me, go with Lewis.

This is a part of the book where I found myself copying entire paragraphs.  I will try to respond to what Lewis says, not just copy him.

I think a good Bible quotation Lewis might have used was:
(Proverbs 24:21 KJV)  My son, fear thou the LORD and the king: and meddle not with them that are given to change:
First Lewis points out that God made us to enjoy change.
“To experience much of it, therefore, they must experience many different things; in other words, they must experience change.  And since they need change, the Enemy (being a hedonist at heart) has made change pleasurable to them, just as He has made eating pleasurable.”  p. 136
Then Lewis balances it with our need for stability:
“But since He does not wish them to make change, an more than eating, an end in itself, he has balanced the love of change in them by a love of permanence.” p. 136
The balance is presented as rhythm and gives an example.
“He has contrived to gratify both tastes together in the very world He has made, by that union of change and permanence which we call Rhythm.  He gives them the season, each season different yet every year the same, so that spring is always felt as a novelty yet always as the recurrence of an immemorial theme.”    
We are built so that each year Spring is new to us.  I have been through it over 60 times and yet the smells and weather are always refreshing and renewing.  Have you ever had one of those days where there is something about the day, you just can’t put your finger on it.  Then you realize that in the middle of winter you found a hint of spring.  Picture how boring it would be if every day were spring. 

Why can’t we learn that lesson in our music?  We just finished VBS.  (That is Vacation Bible School for those of you who have no cultural background.)  As we were waiting for the closing program to begin the piano was playing all of the songs I had sung as a kid.  When my children came along we continued with many of the same choruses and added a few to enrich the mix.  I looked around and every adult in the sanctuary had that silly smile on their face of fond memory.  When the program began that was the end of memory lane.  All of the songs the kids sang were new.  Nothing existed from the past.

That would not necessarily be bad but I asked myself, “Will these kids be smiling in thirty years when someone plays one of these songs?  Will they remember the impact they had on their lives?”  I doubt it because they couldn’t even remember the songs that Sunday morning.  You may not have noticed but the music now comes with a taped accompaniment.  That you might have noticed but what you may not have been aware of was that the voices you heard coming over the PA were mostly from the tape, not the kids you were watching.  The price we pay for novelty is that the performers become spectators as well as the audience.  What they have not learned they will not remember.

When my kids were at the VBS age Maranatha Music put out a series of tapes featuring Psalty the singing Psalm book.  They worked the Maranatha magic.  They took old, established choruses and spiced them up.  They were new and old at the same time.  They mixed in some selected new songs and built them around a lesson in Christian character.  We would pop those in the tape deck as we drove and the entire family would enthusiastically join in the singing.  To this day, all you have to do is start singing one and the adult children will remember.

Change can be good.  Permanence can be good.  Lets learn to embrace them both. 

Lewis, C.S.  The Screwtape Letters.  Norwalk, Connecticut:  The Easton Press, 2002.

homo unius libri

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