Forever?

Just a smallish observation whilst I sip on a Diet Coke during my work lunch break.

I’ve been thinking a bit about the implications of the word “forever”, which of course is a word that defines eternity, a never ending period if you will. One of my bugbears is when words are misused, and the meaning behind a word lost in a sea of miscellany. I think “forever” is such a word that needs to be considered very carefully, especially in the realm of Christian songwriting.

In such a limited period of time, I haven’t been able to do a word study of “forever” in the context of Scripture, but overwhelmingly I would be led to believe it is used relative to God. Consider in particular Psalm 136, a majestic decree of praise with a simple, yet profound Christian truth repeated many times: His love endures forever. The psalmists often expressed this, being reminded undoubtedly of how God faithfully expressed his patience, care and love for his people (and still does today)

To contrast, consider the lyrics of a song called Forever, by the Planetshakers music group. I can’t find a copy of the lyrics on the web to link to (and will link to them when I can find them), but the lyrical basis of what I can remember of the song is about the people of God worshipping and praising him every day and forever. I have an issue with this, because we as fallible, sinful humans are arguably incapable of making such promises and carrying through with them.

The trouble with Planetshakers and other similar albums is that the experiential aspect of Christianity is exalted to levels above and beyond what God has done for us. It seems that the writers are too keen on singing and writing about what they want to do, and forget about what has been done for us through Jesus Christ. I certainly want to express my gratitude and praise to God, but I don’t want that to become more elevated than that which has prompted me to express my gratitude and thanks.

As a church musician and leader, I find that songs that balance the singing of the work of God in salvation with words that express our thankfulness are appropriate, but I would never advocate songs that are totally focussed on the “from me to you” style of “worship”. To paraphrase something that Steve so vividly said in his sermon yesterday, bland truthfulness is in the long run going to be more edifying than showy watered down words (although musically bland songs are not all that desirable). 

That’s all the time I have for now – I do want to sit down and talk more about music and the church, and other aspects of Christianity that I’ve been pondering for a while, so stay tuned.

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4 Responses

  1. Looking forward to hearing more of it.

    By the way, did you see the Bulldog’s article in the tele today about the ‘Continuous Brawl Team’?

    It seems as full on as you said, what will happen next? I didnt hear Ray today, what did he have to say, did you hear him?

  2. I read the article, and I did hear Ray (I imagine it’ll probably be on his best bits podcast) – he basically said that the vice captain shouldn’t have said what he said, and apologised for the whole thing. I’ll probably write up my thoughts on the whole (Enzo) imbroglio this arvo.

  3. We need Chippy to describe it as a fracas, a broo ha ha, or an imbroglio

  4. Which is why I termed it to be an imbroglio. I’m just rereading the article and downloading Ray’s podcast to listen to, then I’ll get something typed up.

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