10:54 04May11 Sharon -
I agree. I began learning scripture through singing, and through my
children's music tapes when they were toddlers. I am pleased to let
you know that I have heard young adults (my son is a worship leader) take
some old hymns and re-arrange them in contemporary music style. It's
11:09 04May11 Teresa -
Yes and Amen! I long for words of worship put to music that speaks of
the goodness, faithfulness and the awesomeness of mine God, Lord and
King. His words put to music that will fill the atmosphere and never
returns void to Him. This stirs my heart and heals mine soul to worship
Him in truth and in spirit.
11:28 04May11 Sally Prittle -
I agree strongly with this article. I am afraid the shallowness is
wider than just our taste in worship songs, extending to sermon themes
and Bible study, but a correction through inclusion of hymns old and
new would redress the balance somewhat. I find such richness in hymns
that I like quiet time immediately after one to savour what has just
11:40 04May11 Raymond E. Wiggins Sr. -
Again, an effective word of exhortation for "deeper content" in our
worship. You are so on point to emphasize the "theological" importance
of Psalms, hymns and spiritual songs (perhaps some of those "new
musical utterances and arrangments you are suggesting) in our
The Scriptures do testify that such "melodies" are to be means of
"teaching and admonishing" one another in the things of God (Colossians
3:16), even the "deep things" of God (I Corinthians 2:10) which should
lead to "deeper content" of praise and adoration unto our Lord and our
God from the fruit of our lips in the midst of the churches (Hebrews
13:15)! May these things indeed be restored!
-- Dr Juster replies: This has been accomplished before and can be done again!
12:27 04May11 Alan Kirkham -
The new Methodist hymnbook omits all hymns which mention the blood of
Jesus. We hear that Methodism is in decline. Is there a connection?
-- Dr Juster replies: There is indeed a connection. The Methodists no longer believe like
12:46 04May11 Stephanie -
I believe that in addition to our lack of patience, we also lack an
understanding of what worship should be. We visualize it as uplifting
music that touches our heart. We do not understand the deeper component,
therefore, we don't know something is missing. The Body of Messiah
needs training to understand the true nature of worship.
13:15 04May11 Walter Fessenden -
I applaud your article. Born in 1929, I have been in the church my
entire life. My wife and I attend a great Bible teaching church
(Calvary Chapel in Redlands California) where the music is mostly
contemporary - some hymns sung to an upbeat tempo. We really miss the
great old hymns, but we do use them in our home worship times. A friend
referred to some of the contemporary music as "seven-eleven" music - seven
words sung eleven times.
-- Dr Juster replies: What an amazing phrase. I will have to remember it. 7-11. It greatly
captures what I am saying.
14:35 04May11 Carol -
A very insightful article that helps us to understand how very powerful
it is to pray and sing the Psalms and to better appreciate what our Jewish
brothers and sisters have preserved for us in the Siddurs. I am thankful
to have such a great resource concering the Jewish prayers. Thanks for
shedding light on this subject.
23:12 04May11 Amy Trees -
I think music is a very important. The only thing I remember learning
from church when I was a little girl was the songs we sang. I dont
remember the crafts we did
-- Dr Juster replies: This is so true and part of what our worship should do.
18:55 05May11 BD -
One of the gifts of contemporary worship is the joy it brought back to the
body of Messiah. As a young girl over 45 years ago, I would sit alone with
my guitar and rework the hymns long before it was the thing to do. I was so
disheartened even at such a young age that the hymns had become a drudgery
in the churches and the rich words lost in the same old same old way we
offered up our meager praise. In the early days the Messianic Jews also
brought a depth to the upbeat music. I was in awe of the song the Sacrificed
Lamb! As time went on the Name began disappearing. I recently mourned to my
pastor how infrequently I hear the Name of Jesus sung or spoken. Now it is
the stage, the microphone and just the select chosen few who "lead" us in
worship. The electric power and drums drown out the voices and have caused
us to lose our hearing. We repeat one liners endlessly ... I long for the
days of stringed instruments when the wood was enough to cause the notes to
resound with rich deep praise. The most frightening thing I saw was a young
child carrying an inflated balloon replica of a microphone twice the young
lad's size...he was on his way to Sunday School.
I learned recently that the Levitical Priests sang over the sacrifices as
they were offered up on the Bronze Altar. It made me wonder, who sang over
Yeshua as He hung on the tree. Would our worship leaders choose Golgatha as
their stage? I have to confess there are times, not always, but there are
times I want to upset the stage and pull the plug. I long for silence and a
quiet singing, a humble song, with majestic words. There is a wisdom in
Revelation's harps. Surely there are times for the trumpets and cymbals
what better way to joyfully proclaim Yeshua Risen Indeed. Consider a simple
tune:"Jesus keep me near the cross, there a precious fountain, free to all a
healing stream, flows from Calvary's mountain." When I learned of the
multitude of blood that flowed from the tabernacle sacrifices, then I
understood, then my heart gasped, then I saw the wonder and grace and
terrible truth of the atonement of the Holy One. Sadly, the church is now
sometimes a lonely place and I am lost in the cacophony and God bless me.
Thank you for writing about something that has broken my heart.
-- Dr Juster replies: When I was the pastor of Beth Messiah in Maryland, for 22 years, I had a
rule. The voices of the people were to be heard above the instruments, the
instruments were to support the people singing.
16:17 06May11 Jasmin Dyck -
I agree. But thank God for raising up song writers like Keith and Kristyn
Getty. Their hymns express deep spiritual truths of the Christian faith.
03:09 10May11 David Wright -
There are some good modern hymnists in the UK. Graham Kendrick is widely
known for the hymn "Shine Jesus Shine", but he has written many more; some
with deep theological content. Paul White has set many of the psalms to
new melodies and Noel Richards is another great hymn writer.
03:27 19May11 Kaytee Rath -
I am not sure I understand. "How Great Thou Art" is old timey and
worshippers still stand up in awe and respect (even when sitting for the
modern hymns). "Shine Jesus Shine" is contemporary (maybe not anymore) and
makes me cry passionately. I love all the music, even hard angry Christian
music for warfare prayer. You are saying we need to include the contentful
hymns. I love them too. G-D cries in the secret places when we are prideful.
I had a dream while in Israel in 2000. I was given a harp shaped like G-Ds
17:58 21May11 Bill Goodberlet -
Love the provoking content. It seems to me that the Psalms are not
necessarily written FOR worship as much as they were written while IN
worship. They are David's journal, perhaps while he was in the
tabernacle with the ark of the Covenant. Worship seems to be designed to
bring us deeper into fellowship with our King, and in this place, the Spirit
can certainly instruct us ... but I'm not sure the lyrics to the music
needs to be doctrinely deep, just so that it takes us to that deeper place
where we commune and fellowship with Him. Do you see the value in that? I
understand that words set to music are easier to remember and singing songs
of the Psalms have helped me to memorize greater portions - but that's
not neccessaritly worship either. just fun ways of memorization. hmmm.
-- Dr Juster replies: You are correct that some of the Psalms are as you say. However, others
were written for worship in the Temple, and not just meditation. Songs of
Ascent for going up to the Temple, and then songs that were sung by the
choir at high worship times and then personal expressions for meditation.
All these types of Psalms are there. However, I am looking for that worship
that praises God for more of what He has done and for who He is. We
don't just say "You're wonderful" over and over, but we say why.
And yes, I do value those short pieces that with music help us also into his
Presence. The type of material you mention does have an important place
too, but it is one part.
21:28 24May11 Daniel Warthen -
Good article, I was raised Baptist, weaned Church of Christ, matured in the
Methodist church, encouraged inthe faith by the great hymns telling about
how great was our God and Saviour, disillusioned by the many contemporary
songs about what we were doing and going to do, but I am once again
encouraged by the worship in the Messianic community, with so many songs
formed from Scripture and the Siddur, sending praise and adoration, and
worshipping our Father and King, and His glorious Son!
14:53 30May11 Torah-Laura -
Thank you for this encouragement for more thoughtful and scriptural based
lyrics. One of my greatest joys has been at times to pick up the Bible
and turn to the psalms or any other passage of scripture that might lend
itself to song. Then I vocally play with making up spontaneous melodies
singing them on the spot. This worshipful activity has been deeply
satisfying and enriching. I sing imperfectly to a perfect God and I believe
that brings Him pleasure because my heart and mind and voice are set on
His holy Word. Sometimes I think we can become too dependent on worship
leaders when we can be experiencing the joy of the practice of creative
praise and worship wherever we happen to be either with His Word in our
heart given to improvised song or by simply turning to a passage of
Scripture and turning that into a simple or not so simple melody. Another
thought, the enemy of our soul may delight in robbing believers of this
activity since when we engage in praise and worship that is Scripture
based he is reminded of the Greatness of our God and the defeat of the
enemy at Calvary. Thank you for this opportunity to share some heart felt
thoughts on a very important subject.
18:19 30May11 Ann Thomas -
A very good article indeed. I totally agree. I am from Wales and I have
just been reading a book about the the life and works of William Williams
who was a Welsh Methodist of the times of the Wesleys and who also wrote
some great hymns. How we miss them and the theological substance they brought.
08:43 02Jun11 Gregory -
Firstly the land of Israel is no ordinary piece of land; this land is
Hashem's land. When you interfere with that land you are actually
interfereing with Hashem's covenant promises to Abraham this is his
land and he will have it no other way. The Jews, be it orthodox or not,
are his people. The enemy Hasatan knows this and he is the one who wants
to drive Israel into the sea and also whom Hashem loves he chastens and
he has allowed israel to be chastened on meny occasions because of her
sins but remember what he did to babylon after she was exiled to babylon.
The bottom line is: Israel is his. He puts up, he takes down, he blesses
when we walk in obedience to his instructions (TORAH) and he punishes
when we walk in disobedience. Israel is his throne, Israel is his foot
stool, Israel is the city of the great king in closing all who oppose her
are treading on very dagerous grounds he will fight for his people Israel
Jew and goyim(Gentile).