Lord's Day Liturgy

Like a Threadbare Sweater

There are still limits of appropriateness for given situations for sake of truth, goodness, and beauty, as well as formality and majesty. We’re not bringing Lady Gaga before the Lord’s throne. But even in our own Christian heritage, we’ve made missteps. For example, the sing-songy way Psalm 42 is usually sung forsakes a style that fits the content.

Seriously. Watch/listen to this. Compare it to the desperation in the actual song. This isn’t the still waters of Psalm 23, this is almost dead from missing-worship dehydration.

As a deer pants for flowing streams,
so pants my soul for you, O God.
My soul thirsts for God,
for the living God.
When shall I come and appear before God?
My tears have been my food
day and night,
while they say to me all the day long,
“Where is your God?”
These things I remember,
as I pour out my soul:
how I would go with the throng
and lead them in procession to the house of God
with glad shouts and songs of praise,
a multitude keeping festival.
(Psalm 42:1-4)

So much of contemporary singing is like a threadbare sweater, see-through and anything but flattering. In much of the Contemporary Christian Music industry, the only ones more girly than the women are the men. It’s not a good look. And it doesn’t fit.

What about the tone around the Lord’s Table? What fits?

There are many passages that proclaim the good news, but consider this declaration from Paul:

[David] says also in another psalm,

“‘You will not let your Holy One see corruption.’

For David, after he had served the purpose of God in his own generation, fell asleep and was laid with his fathers and saw corruption, but he whom God raised up did not see corruption. Let it be known to you therefore, brothers, that through this man forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you, and by him everyone who believes is freed from everything from which you could not be freed by the law of Moses. (Acts 13:35–39)

Jesus is risen from the dead. Your sins are forgiven. You are free from the law. In Christ is salvation for the ends of the earth. What is the proper timbre for remembering those truths at the Table?

Though Solomon didn’t mean it about the Lord’s Supper, it applies: “Eat your bread with joy, and drink your wine with a merry heart” (Ecclesiastes 9:7).