"I may never march in the imperture Ride in the cowboy ride shoop in the areo Yes sir!"
This is how my daughter sings the children's song "The Lord's Army." If you don't remember how that song goes or have never even heard the song then let me show you the actual lyrics:
"I may never march in the infantry Ride in the cavalry Shoot the artillery I may never fly o'er the enemy But I'm in the Lord's army yes, sir!" My daughter has heard her father and I sing this song with her and to her, many times. She LOVES this song yet, she still doesn't have any idea what she is really singing. At this point in her learning the english language she mimics what she is hearing and much to our pleasure we get to quietly giggle as we hear her sing the wrong thing loudly, happily, and confidently. Today, though, while we were driving in the car she was singing the "ABC" song and when it got to the part where she sang "Next time won't you sing with me?" She stopped and said "Don't sing with me Mommy." After laughing a bit and telling her "Okay. You can keep singing by yourself," I realized that she finally knows what she is saying at the end of that song. For months she has been singing those words (or words that phonetically sounded like the actual lyrics) but she didn't have any real comprehension of what she was singing. Today she did, and when she realized it she also realized she didn't really want me singing along with her even though she'd just sung the opposite.
This made me think about worship songs. Since I am on the stage singing and frequently leading worship, I am able to see the faces and body language of the congregation worshipping and singing along. Let me tell you that my daughter is far more animated and excited to be singing songs that she doesn't even understand than many of the people in the audience who are "singing" songs that
#1. they supposedly DO understand
#2. are about/to their Savior
So what is the problem? Well, I think one of the main problems is that we DON'T actually understand. Even though the songs are in English and we speak English there are some things (phrasing, Christian words and word combinations) that are still unfamiliar. Let's be honest, the way a song speaks to our Heavenly Father is not the regular language that we use when talking about the latest reality show to our friends. There are words like Glory and Holy and Everlasting and Name above all Names. What other time during the week do we actually use those types of words? This makes me think of a song that I remember singing at my grandparents house or in church when I was young, called "Come Thou Fount." In the second verse of this song it says
"Here I raise mine Ebenezer; hither by thy great help I'm come; and I hope, by thy good pleasure, safely to arrive at home. Jesus sought me when a stranger, wandering from the fold of God; he, to rescue me from danger, interposed his precious blood."
Every time we would get to that first line I would go on an internal rampage thinking "What in the world is an Ebenezer? Surely Mr. Scrooge has nothing to do with this song?" It wasn't till I got older and decided to record a hymns cd that I researched what that word actually means and you know what? It's meaning is really quite beautiful and life changing for me. In 1 Samuel 7 the Israelites had been without the ark of the Lord in Israel because the Philistines had it. They were in mourning because it seemed the Lord had abandoned them and they were desperate. Samuel the prophet told them that if they were really serious about wanting to return to the Lord then they would have to get rid of all their idols and worship only the Lord. The Israelites did this and fought the Philistines. After the Lord helped the Israelites defeat the Philistines
"Samuel then took a large stone and placed it between the towns of Mizpah and Jeshanah. He named it Ebenezer (which means 'the stone of help/remembrance'), for he said, 'Up to this point the Lord has helped us!'"
The Stone of Help. A marker for anyone who passed by that area to see. A declaration. Now go back and read the verse of "Come Thou Fount." Ugh! That gets me every time. I get to sing that verse saying "here, me, Sarah, I am raising up a 'Stone of help/remembrance' for anyone who passes by me to see. I am showing and declaring how I have been rescued from danger by His blood." Now every time I sing that verse I am beaming instead of standing in confusion.
If I am going to sing words like Holy and Glory and Majesty then I need to know what I am talking about. I need to bring those words outside of the sunday morning church service and into my home. I need to sit down with them and study them, speak them, grasp them, talk about them, meditate on them and make a place for them in my head as well as my heart. It's when I know the depth behind the word Majesty(greatness or splendor of quality or character) that I can truly sing the song by the same title written by Delirious:
Here I am humbled by your Majesty Covered by your grace so free Here I am, knowing I'm a sinful man Covered by the blood of the Lamb
Now I've found the greatest love of all is mine Since You laid down your life The greatest sacrifice
Majesty, Majesty Your grace has found me just as I am Empty handed, but alive in your hands Majesty, Majesty Forever I am changed by your love In the presence of your Majesty
Here I am humbled by the love that you give Forgiven so that I can forgive Here I stand, knowing that I'm your desire Sanctified by glory and fire
Now I've found the greatest love of all is mine Since you laid down your life The greatest sacrifice
Go and learn. Set your thoughts on these words of worship and praise, write them down, place them on your mirror, keep them in your purse, find yourself lost on the internet searching out their meaning, keep them on your tongue and then see how it transforms your worship. See how much faster your heart beats or tears spring to your eyes or your hands shoot in the air or your voice raises when you hear that lyric:
Majesty, Majesty Your grace has found me just as I am Empty handed, but alive in your hands
Yaaaaaa! My heart is leaping even now, sitting in my robe, coffee cold beside me, hair a mess, baby girl running around me, as my hands type feverishly because I know what this means. Yaaaaaa!