Your Name is Like Honey

 

I haven’t thought of this song in years. I’m not even sure I remembered it until tonight. Somewhere between the mess of my search for Yahweh, my leaving the church, and my first humbled profession of the Nicene Creed, I lost this song.

It’s not the only one. I have discarded more choruses than I have blemished paper. Some of it was intentional, to be honest. I became a lover of hymns, a seeker of hymns. Worse than the feeling that many of these modern tunes were empty was the feeling that they left me empty. And let’s not argue this point, friends–I do not for a moment assert that modern worship is substandard to traditional worship. I only assert that in my life for the last decade, modern worship has been mostly empty. Hymns were rich soil that I could dig down into. They were heavy with theology and difficult statements about faith. I needed hymns. I craved hymns.

And in the midst of that craving, I simply lost many choruses. Once in awhile I will recall one and I will sing it wholeheartedly. Usually, it makes me feel good and it reminds me that choruses and modern worship have shaped me in ways I cannot express.

But this song spilled out of me tonight from some distant memory. Was it one of Pastor Drake’s favorite songs? Pastor Wilbert? Pastor Gordy? I can never remember. One of them used to ask me to play it. A lot.

As I played and sang tonight, the words convicted me: Jesus, I love You; I love You.

Sometimes, folks, worship really is that simple. It is right to extol God for who He is, to proclaim His goodness and mercy, to praise His faithfulness and redeeming love for us. But it is also right–it is also appropriate–to sing softly to Him, the simple return: I love You. If His love doesn’t evoke that response in us, I think we’re in trouble.

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4 thoughts on “Your Name is Like Honey

  1. Hi Sarah,

    Smpicity does have its place in worship. While I agree that some choruses (or is it “chori”?) are rather monotonous, that may be more important than we can imagine to some folks. Take, for example, the simplicity of the Gospel. Jesus, the Son of God, died for our sins. And all we have to do is accept it, be grateful for the love of the Father’s mercy for making Jesus the (only) Way, and repent and follow His Son. It’s so simple, that some people think that it’s too simple and want to add dogma and rituals, secert handshakes and “special knowledge”. The Gospel- the very Good News- is so simple a child can understand it.

    Shalom!!!
    Steve

    • Hi Steve;

      I guess I have never weighed the chorus discussion in the light of simplicity (and our need for it). In feeling empty, I don’t think it is the simplicity of the songs that I dislike; it is the typical inward focus. Worship was never supposed to be about “me,” and yet much of our modern worship (and modern CCM) is focused on the created rather than the Creator.

      Look at this song, for instance:
      Lord, I give you my heart, I give you my soul, I live for you alone.
      Every step that I take, every moment I’m awake, Lord, have your way in me.

      Now, I happen to really like the above chorus, but the focus is on ME. *I* give. *I* live. *I* take. It is posed as a prayer, which is fine. But this is my side of a covenant with God, it seems. Lord, here’s what I’m doing; please would you do *this* in response.

      Compare it to these words:
      Great is thy faithfulness, o God my father, there is no shadow of turning with thee;
      Thou changest not, thy compassions–they fail not;
      As thou hast been, thou forever wilt be

      These words are all about God, about His character, about what He has covenanted to us.

      There’s a place in worship for our love, our adoration, our confession, and our commitment to God. I just tend to think there’s too much of it, and not enough of the declaration of who God is.

      I’m trying to remember who made the analogy I love so much (It may’ve been C.H. MacKintosh–another fantastic author that I need to read more of)…about the moon being empty in itself, without any light of its own. The only light it has is the light it reflects from the sun. That’s how I’ve come to feel about worship. It’s not wrong to enjoy the light of the moon; we only need to keep it in context of the sun. If we continually gaze into the moon, we are going to find that even its reflection of the sun’s light waxes and wanes, and it may very well leave us staring up into a dark sky.

      That’s what choruses became to me: I was staring into a dark space at a rock of a heart that was not constant enough to always reflect God’s light. Hymns, for me, were the moment of looking back toward the sun.

      That was long-winded, Steve, to try and explain what I meant about choruses feeling empty. However, I think there’s something in your words about simplicity. It is part of why I love my Lutheran faith: It is not nearly as complicated as my 21st century mind wants to make it. Somehow, the Gospel is still simple. Forgiveness is still simple. Faith is still childlike.

      Not childish, but childlike.

      I hadn’t thought that choruses could be seen in the same light. I want to give that some more thought. Thanks for the challenge. :)

      Pax!
      Sar

      P.S. And oh–I wish it *was* chori! What a beautiful word!

  2. Hi Sarah,

    I realize that we are in a narcissistic country where some people are so wrapped up in themselves that they don’t notice the down-trodden practically lying at their doorsteps. And some people see worship in that way. This truly is empty worship.

    But as far as the over-use of the pronoun “I”, there are some of the Psalms that do come from a personal perspective. It all depends on the heart and where your prioirities are, I guess.

    Shalom!!!
    Steve

    • Steve,

      Priorities. That’s really the key word. When our focus is on self, then self becomes our priority. I think you can worship from a pronoun-stance without being self-focused. But I don’t think you can gaze constantly into the self and call that “worship.” And that’s really what I think is happening in our society. We’ve become lovers of self rather than lovers of God, even in our praise and worship. I think narcissism is the right word, also.

      I have never searched the Psalms for the uses of pronouns, but in finding those pronouns, I still think we would find that Christ is the focus. That’s really the difference.

      Priorities are definitely the key. :)

      Shabbat shalom!
      Sarah

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