04 September 2009

Christian Songs That Annoy Me: "Holy Spirit Come"

Today I want to whine about a song I occasionally hear during worship at church, "Holy Spirit Come," written by Kate Miner:

Holy Spirit come, Holy Spirit dwell
Fill Your church with joy over flowing
And peace over flowing
And love over flowing
In all of Your glory

What bothers me most about this song is not the fact that it doesn't rhyme (it's the same word repeated three times; though "glory" sort of rhymes with "overflowing" but rhymes better with "overflowy"); what bothers me most is its contradiction of Scripture. I present another song, much older, perhaps, but much more correct:

O LORD, you have searched me and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O LORD.
You hem me in-- behind and before; you have laid your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain.
Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.
If I say, "Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,"
even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you.

(Ps. 139:1-12, emphasis mine)

It cannot be stressed enough: Christian musicians are responsible for the lyrics to their songs. In a way, Christian songwriters are teachers, and music is a powerful tool for teaching Christian doctrine (remember hymns?). Worship leaders and songwriters ought to be very careful in deciding not only how a song sounds (is it worshipful?) but also careful in deciding what the song says (is it true?).

1 comment:

Neill Gibson said...

Just ran across this and thought about what you said. Not trying to be argumentative, but after that Psalm was written, Jesus Himself could utter the phrase "When the Spirit of Truth comes..." in John 16:13. There are a lot of things He said would happen when His Spirit comes, and to those things which I do not yet see happening in my life, I believe I could stand to again be filled with His Spirit (Eph 5:18ff) and sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs. Even though He has come, I don't think it's wrong to express our longing for Him with the word "Come!" Even though He's everywhere, James expresses that if we draw near to God, He will draw near to us. :-)

I like psalms, too. Check out psalmsofascent.com and you can download some that we put to music if you like. It's a great aid for memorization, as you alluded above.

Grace and peace!
Neill Gibson