Friday, November 22, 2013

Church is Not a Spa

Okay.  I know that I’ve spent most of this blog time this year talking about hymnody.  And, even though my hymn of the month series is over, I am going to spend more time on it today.  In the past couple of weeks, I have talked to people numerous times who have mentioned that they like to sing music in church that makes them “feel good.”  What?  Where did we get this idea that worship is supposed to make you feel good?  If you want to feel good, go get a massage.  Feeling good is not what worship is about.  Worship is about Jesus.  It is all about Jesus and only about Jesus.  It is about Jesus coming to us in Word and Sacrament. 
In worship, I confess my sins and acknowledge that I am a “poor miserable sinner.”  There is nothing “happy clappy” or “feel good” about hearing or saying that I am an awful person.  But, it is necessary.  The gospel isn’t necessary unless I am a sinner.  God’s grace and mercy don’t matter unless I am no good on my own.  No, hearing the Law does not make it happy.  Hearing the Law does not make me feel  good.  Singing hymns that talk about sin do not make me feel good.  But they do make the wonderfulness of the Gospel even sweeter. 
With all of that being said, there are most certainly hymns that I love and hymns that bring me joy.  These hymns do that because they both remind me of my sinfulness and God’s grace and mercy for me.  These are hymns that are not about me but Jesus.  So, the next time someone tells you that they want to sing music in church that makes them feel good, tell them to go visit a spa and go to church for Word and Sacrament.  (Just kidding.  Don’t actually tell them that.  Just think it to yourself.)

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