Here at Hargreaves Towers, many things too numerous to mention, clamour for attention in the day to day war of attrition we like to call “family”. When our children were young, they thought as we did – because we told them to and what we liked – they liked because we were their heroes. Those times have long passed and now, when being allowed to go out with them in public is a bonus (unless, of course, we are on our way to the cash machine) things are very different. One ongoing bone of contention is church worship. Last Sunday we had what is now termed an “animated discussion” about son’s failure to sing to a certain hymn. His reply – that he couldn’t see the point of repeating “16th century irrelevant phrases ” made me think a bit about Christian music.
I am a hymn fan. My wedding was full of ’em. That was in the days before weddings were full of Disney songs and Witney Houston. (Least favourite wedding opening. Bride entering to “Can you feel the love tonight?” from the Lion King. Bit of an awkward moment.) Yep,Fanny Crosby, HF Lyte and Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you Chas Wesley. I love it. But. I’m kind of thinking that they work best in their context. I don’t mean we shouldn’t sing them. Just that they should be sung how they were written. I think Amazing Grace works better without a drum’n’bass track. And maybe “When I Survey” can live without a sixties style melody to “appeal to the young people”.
In the same way songs written by Tim Hughes or Matt Redman with a loud guitar riff needs to retain that. I’m never sure about singing these songs sort of toned down for an older audience. You know the kind of thing “Oh happy day! (cue drum cymbals – chink a chink,chink a chink) Happy Day (chink a chink) You washed my sins away! (ker chink!) Even someone like me who hasn’t jumped up vertically with both feet off the ground since Steve Coppell was scoring from outside the penalty box in 1976 appreciates that these songs work best played so that people can jump, clap, wave and all that jazz. Thinking that maybe we should mix and match a bit. Sing each others stuff generously as it was meant to be sung and put a bit of effort in. Its not all about you you know!