Sunday morning in church, an acquaintance came and sat down next to me. I’ve talked to her several times before but don’t know much about her background.
We sang some of the familiar newer songs, and then the worship leader led us into a joyful rendition of Wonderful Grace of Jesus, encouraging people to sing the parts. Even in my non-musicality, I know that song so well — one of the few songs where I can actually do the parts: “higher than the mountain, sparkling like a fountain, oh, sufficient grace for me, for even me.”
Because we used to ROCK that song in youth group … and I mean rock.
The guys loved to sing that extra part loud and low. Yes, most of what we sang in YG were shorter choruses, but we all loved Wonderful Grace of Jesus and just about every week someone would request that we sing it (and sing all three verses). Again — so we could rock the parts.
When we finished singing on Sunday, people clapped. I guess it brought back memories for others besides me. But the lady sitting next to me looked at me thoughtfully. “That’s a good song. It’s full of joy and it’s got great words. I hope we sing it more often,” and I could tell she had never heard it before. What was an old favorite to me was brand new to her.
Sometimes in our pursuit of singing the latest and greatest (AND I HAVE NOTHING AGAINST THE NEWER SONGS), we forget that there are a lot of cooler, older songs available to us.
We do this with our kids, too. We teach them adult songs, the kind we sing in church, and they miss the joy of singing about “neglect your Bible, forget to pray and you’ll shrink, shrink, shrink” and then read your Bible so you’ll “grow, grow, grow.” How much fun it is for them to shrink to the floor and then slowly grow again or figure out the complicated clapping sequence of “Be a missionary.” These are songs they request EVERY week. Cause what we think is old is brand new to them.
The lady running the kids’ ministry I work in is young – in her mid-twenties, but she has chosen to teach the kids the old songs. Yet, the kids think they’re new. No, I’ll revise that, the kids don’t even think about it. I have never, ever heard a child not sing because “that’s from the 70s.” I have never heard them argue over traditional versus contemporary. They simply enjoy the music. (And think how difficult it would be to “shrink” holding an active baby!!!)
Maybe when choosing songs for our kids, we should occasionally look backwards instead of forward? What songs did we enjoy as a kid?
Are we missing something? Are we overlooking an entire treasure trove of well-written songs that teach valuable truths? Are we so anxious for the new, that we ignore the old?
What do you think? What song would YOU want to bring back?