The Random Thoughts of a Lutheran Parish Pastor
The lyrics of Rich Mullins' song, "I See You" teeter in and out of enthusiasm with the refrain, "And everywhere I go, I see you." His experience with seeing God he addresses as "Lord" apart from the means of grace is (and I'm being kind here) more plausibly about the visible creation and Christians working in their vocations, but there is no clarification given. Among other refrains he offers, "And you take my hand and you wash it clean," a weak reference to the washing of the sinner in the waters of Baptism or maybe an allusion to Christ's washing of the Disciples' feet. Here again, this can only be surmised because the lyrics aren't clear on this point either. And what's this about the promised land being light years ahead? Nice touch of poetic license inserting a scientific term that was unknown even to Luther and the Reformers. An allusion to heaven, I suppose, but what's the point? Is he gratuitously singing of the eternality of God and His kingdom? And then he throws in for good measure a nod to Isaiah 40:8 when he writes, "Well, the grass will die, And the flowers fall, But Your Word's alive And it will be after all." So, what is the takeaway of this contemporary praise song? This word they still shall let remain speaks of our justification by the Redeemer with a name that is above all names, of the Sacraments of Absolution, Baptism, and the Lord's Supper, of the Church, militant and triumphant, of the word God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. Four Scripture passages came to mind as I read the lyrics of "I See You" by Rich Mullins:"And the Lord went before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead them along the way, and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, that they might travel by day and by night." Exodus 13:21"'But,' he said, 'you cannot see my face, for man shall not see me and live.'” Exodus 33:20 "Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow." Psalm 51:7"The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever." Isaiah 40:8The song is a hodgepodge of notions about various passages in the Old Testament, some law and some gospel, but mostly applicative. It is the fare of a starvation diet theologically speaking compared to more didactic hymnody compiled in the Lutheran Service Book.
Lord help us.
Worship is prayer put to song. What exactly are you praying for in the Contemporary worship song?"Everywhere I go I see you." Is "You" ever properly identified in the song? "You" could mean anyone. Why are most CoWo song lyrics deliberately non-specific?
Why are most CoWo song lyrics deliberately non-specific?They believe their mission is to appeal as broadly as possible, to "cast a wide net." Thus, many CoWo songs can be sung by followers of virtually any religion.Table Talk Radio has a useful feature called the Praise Song Cruncher which breaks it all down; see https://docs.google.com/document/d/1_oiNEpA319eHFc4HjrR4s_parE7Y2yFYz3pU94Fch1A/pub for a listing of songs evaluated.
Bad music is like bad software, it programs hearers to embrace depravity.
Sorry, but you picked the most inappopriate example of a contemporary Christian singer/songwriter who writes poor lyrics than you possibly could! Rich Mullins was of the best Christian songwriters of all time, and unlike most fluffy garbage that passes for Christian music today, his lyrics ARE rooted in scripture and DO mean something! Most of Rich's songs are basically prayers to God. The idea that we see God in all times, places and in all things is very profound! If you want to make the point that Christian music has deteriorated, find a better example, because you certainly missed your mark here!
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