Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Love Songs in Church

If you were here at Grace Church last Sunday you experienced one of the most powerful endings to a church service that I have ever been part of in my life. The theme for the entire morning was that if we are going to be authentic worshippers of God in the fast food culture that we live in, we must reflect God in our marriages.

We looked from Malachi chapter two at how the men of Judah, in the days of Malachi the prophet, were treating the Jewish wives of their youth treacherously and breaking the covenant of marriage that they had made with them with God as witness. This was happening due to the men divorcing their Jewish wives in order to marry younger and more attractive women from the surrounding foreign nations who didn’t believe in or worship the God of Israel, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. By doing so, they were removing the garment of protection that marriage was to provide for their Jewish wives.

We ended the service with Rick Bernhardt singing a romantic love song in Italian as the English words shown on the screen. WOW! How cool was it to stand in the back of the auditorium with my arms wrapped around my wife and her arms wrapped around me as we listened to this powerful expression of love.

How cool was it to preach a sermon where one of the verses we studied strongly stated that God hates divorce but yet to end the sermon in a very uplifting and positive way? I think Rick could probably quit his job and make a living hiring himself out to serenade a lot of couples in the future. But lest you think he is the ultimate in being a romantic, you might want to keep in mind that a real romantic would have sang the song to his wife with her sitting on a stool beside him on the stage (like I originally requested)! If I knew Italian, that’s what I would have done!!

Yet, the whole thing really got me thinking…we need to sing more romantic love songs in church. I am being dead serious. There is an inseparable link in Scripture between authentic worship and a loving marriage that reflects God. In fact, if we ever get Matt McElravy, our young, single, handsome and rich (OK…three out of four isn’t bad) Worship Arts Director here at Grace, married off, I am going to give him the task of writing some love songs for us to sing as part of our worship. I’m not talking about love songs about our love for God. That’s good and we need those too. But I’m talking about love songs centered around the marriage relationship between one husband and one wife committed to reflecting God in their marriage for one lifetime.

I want our young people to grow up in a church that elevates the need for love in marriage and sees marriage as the pinnacle of human relationships that it is meant to be. We sing love songs at weddings and we sing them at home, but why not in church? I think we need to reconnect the love between a husband and a wife with our worship. Marriage is God’s creation and it is under attack in our culture today. May we never forget that authentic worship involves reflecting God in our marriages.

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