Friday, June 11, 2010

Worship Songs

Recently on a friend’s facebook wall I engaged in a discussion about the lyrics to a song for worship. I argued that we need to choose songs well – that with the thousands of worship songs available we can only use a few and it is good for us to choose ones that work well and avoid the ones with questionable lyrics.

With that in mind when a song from Michael W. Smith’s recent worship album, A New Hallelujah, came on my iPod I started this discussion in my head all over again. The song is “When I Think of You” and I love to sing along with it. It has a great beat, the arrangement is very cool (it is sung with an African Children’s Chorus) and it’s really catchy. The problem is that I’m not really sure what it means. Here are the lyrics:

When I think of you, I see you dancing, You’re dancing.
When I think of you, I hear you singing to me
When I think of you, I see You praying
You’re Praying
When I think of you, I hear you calling for me

Yahweh, there is no one like You, Lord
Yahweh, Hallelujah, we sing
Yahweh, there is no one like You, Lord
Yahweh, Your banner for me
Your banner for me is Love

There is no one like,
There is no one like my Yahweh, my Yahweh

This all gets repeated multiple times. As I said, it’s real catchy and by the second time through I’m usually singing along. Here’s my question, though: what is it about? Who is “you” in this song? Who is thinking about whom? In the chorus, "you" is clearly the Lord - but what about in the verses? After thinking about it for a bit I’m beginning to think that this is just another example of a worship song in which the composer strings together a bunch of nice sounding spiritual words, which really don’t go anywhere. This was reinforced when, before the next song MWS sings “faith is rising tonight” a couple of times – I’m not sure what that means either. Now I like Smith a lot – I have almost all of his albums over all these many years and when he records a worship song it often becomes the definitive version. So, tell me what you think about this one.