Worthy Expressions of Praise
For the last fifty-one years I have been playing the organ for worship in some church “out there”! And during most of those years I have heard clergy begin their sermons with the Psalm 19 passage “let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my strength and my redeemer.” I am certain for many of you this verse triggers similar memories as you have listened to preachers open their sermon with this passage.
For many Sunday services of worship more words are sung in worship than are spoken, so this verse also fits for those who sing (and also for those whose wordless message comes through music). In this age when so many congregations are experimenting with new forms for worship, new tunes, new texts, and new instruments for accompanying the singing, or providing music, the question often is raised, “What is acceptable?”
Often the objectives that are raised have to do with what may or may not be acceptable to a given congregation in a given circumstance. Seldom do we hear serious questions about what may or may not be acceptable to God! Those who plead for clinging to the “old masters” and the tried and true, need to remember that God’s ears are very contemporary. The reverse is also true. God is long-memoried, and no doubt found worthy expressions of praise in every century. God is most concerned about the hearts of those who make their offering, and the expressions of hearts centered in the grace of God will get an acceptable hearing.
As we make our journey through Lent let us all pray that our words and music be acceptable to God.
Soli Deo Gloria,