He said, “We learned worship songs.”
His wife said, “Oh. What’s a worship song?”
The farmer answered, “Well, it’s kind of like a hymn. A hymn might say something like:
There’s a brown cow and a black cow in the barn.
And they have eaten up all the hay.
But these new fangled worship songs would be like this:
There’s a cow, there’s a cow, there’s a cow, cow, cow.
There’s a cow. there’s a cow, there’s a cow, cow, cow.
In the barn, in the barn, in the barn, barn, barn.
Yes, it’s a cow (clap, clap),
It’s a cow (clap, clap)
It’s a cow (clap) in the barn (clap)
OOOOOOOO! It’s a cow!!!
Well, it’s a funny story. But the other day I was reminded that it is also a painful reality. I am currently at one of the ends of the earth helping some folk get some stories from Genesis into their languages. They have a devotional before we get the day started. And to my dismay, even here at the ends of the earth they were singing, well, cow songs. The words were vague, and of course repetitive. Not much content at all and what there was was of dubious theological value. (These were not songs they had written, they were songs in the national language.) Maybe the purpose was just to set a mood, you know, like calm people down before the Bible study or something. But if you think about it, what a waste of time. We really ought to be encouraging them to sing Scripture songs at least. They live and work in oral societies and don’t spend time reading. Plus they often do long monotonous tasks. Singing with their mind would be a great way to reflect on God and His goodness and His will for us.
I also grew up singing what, in retrospect, were some pretty bizarre songs. For example in Sunday school we would often sing songs like “I’ll be a sunbeam for Jesus”, “Climb, climb up sunshine mountain”, “Deep and wide”, etc. But those songs have never been a comfort and have certainly never convicted me of anything! Nor have they ever inspired me to trust and follow the Lord. When I am out in the middle of a forest, or stuck in traffic, or driving long distances, or sitting in a brownout, or crying out to God in any other situation, I have never, ever sung any of those songs. So perhaps we need to work harder with our music so that it’s not just a time filler, or stimulant or narcotic but rather a way to encourage people to reflect on God and His will for us.