Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The Old Time Way

"Ain't no harm done, calling on Jesus...... calling on the name of the Lord."

"There's storm out on the ocean, and it's moving this old way, if your soul's not anchored in Jesus, you will surely drift away"

"What do you want the Lord to say?.......'Well done, good and faithful servant.' That's what I want the Lord to say!"

Sound familiar? Maybe. Maybe not.

Those aren't just verses, they're a way of life. These congregational or testimony songs are identified with the old-fashioned sanctified, holiness, and black pentecostal churches (you pick the label), and for good reason...because those people sang often and boldly of their identity in Christ and their desire to live holy and righteous before the Lord in the most plain spoken, sometimes broken, language possible. In fact, what appears to be a simple, uneducated refrain actually speaks volumes unto the saints and unto God, filled with personal significance and theological meaning.

"I'm a soldier in the army of the Lord" - A Declaration of identity and purpose, as well as personal encouragement to endure and press through the trials of life, both natural and spiritual.

"I'm gonna live so God can use me anywhere..anytime".- Both a vow of commitment and a recognition that there's always need for improvement in our lives.

"My soul loves Jesus" - Deep beyond the exterior, far beyond my faults and shortcomings is soul that continuously cries out for God.

"Something on the inside, working on the outside. Oh what change in my life" - "If any man be in Christ" know the rest.

"Oh Oh Oh Lord, I just wanna thank You" - Need I explain?

Contrary to popular belief, these songs are not obsolete or irrelevant, but they are direct precursors to the more contemporary forms of worship, providing an appropriate response from the believer who both recognizes who God is and all that He has done for them.

Unfortunately, modern observers erroneously perceive that the saints of old had no real concept of what it meant to be sanctified, that those individuals were more concerned with style than substance. I've heard it said: "They think being sanctified is a beat or a shout". Yes, most of those songs were sung with great exuberance and energy, but these distant commentators must have never took the time to actually listen to the lyrics that were sung . Because if they had, it would have been clear to see that those saints knew very well what it meant to be "set apart" and "separated".

So give the saints their due. The clean, polished worship we enjoy today is a direct result of their commitment and dedication to God and their creative use of music to honor Him and edify the Church. Truth is, it would do us good to return to that old hand-clappin', foot stompin', tongue talkin', noisy, shoutin', and hoopin' every so often. Singing those songs that remind us who we are and who we should strive to be.

elder todd

Ephesians 5:19-20
19Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, 20always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

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