Here’s a quick question. Why are we biased in favour of new music in worship?
I get this a lot when talking about worship, and I see it in myself too. I lean towards new music. I like to sing songs that reflect my comfort zones, songs that exist in my vernacular.
There’s something disconnected about that, I think. Something off. I mean, we don’t exist apart from the rest of church history. Why would we sing only our own songs? Why not the songs (and Psalms, too; remember that Israel is as much a part of church history as the early church) of our forefathers? We have their faith, after all. We use their theological terms. We rest our faith at least partly on the tradition passed down through history. So why do we so quickly jettison one of the great traditions of the church, namely the songs?
Giving the saints of yesteryear a voice in the goings-on of the modern church is a good exercise in continuity that we’re missing out on. Hymns and psalms aren’t just for the grumpy old people ossifying in their seats. They’re for everyone; they’re a way of saying that we place ourselves firmly in the flow of church history, that we’re not modernist snobs who think we’ve got the best music ever invented.
There’s another question, about why we assume that people jumping around and showing energy and “getting into” the music is always a good thing, or why we assume the Holy Spirit is synonymous with adrenaline, but I’ll leave that for another time.