Friday, September 21, 2007

Songs for Peace

Today is the International Day of Peace, which is supposed to be an day when soldiers observe cease-fires, people of faith pray for peace, and the ideal of peace is held up for the world to see. As a seminarian, this holiday has me thinking a lot about themes of peace in relation to worship, and the difficulty we have integrating the two.

I help lead music for a student-led worship gathering at PTS every Monday morning. Next Monday, the president of the seminary’s Peace and Justice Fellowship is going to be speaking, and she asked specifically to have songs about peace incorporated in the worship service. At our practice yesterday, though, we had quite a difficult time finding songs until we settled on Charlie Hall's “Micah 6:8”. I’ve been a Charlie Hall for a long time, partially because his songs include themes of justice. I also love Derek Webb , whose songs such as “My Enemies Are Men Like Me” and “Love Stronger Than Our Fear” are beautiful expressions of Christ’s call to peace.

The problem is that most of these songs are not written for corporate worship singing. It’s easy to write praise songs about emotional connection to God; it’s much harder to write worship songs about authentic discipleship. Where else can we find genuine worship songs that lift up justice and peace as part of God’s will for the Kingdom? Perhaps we just need to start writing more praise songs that express Jesus’ call for us to be peacemakers and love our enemies. I know there are a few attempts at expressing themes of hope and justice coming up in new music, such as this . Is anyone out there aware of others?

2 comments:

Russell said...

I'm excited for the new Webb/Caedmon's album... have you heard it?
"It’s easy to write praise songs about emotional connection to God; it’s much harder to write worship songs about authentic discipleship."
So, do you think this is maybe the root of why Driscoll bitches so much about contemporary praise music? Or maybe that's giving him too much credit... maybe he just doesn't like anything that can't be on the UFC soundtrack...
As always, it's good to read what's new with you!

Chris said...

Hey Russell! I have the new Caedmon's cd with Webb on it. It's an interesting blend of styles - the songs written by Webb and McCraken are pretty distinct from those written by the rest of the band. While most of the songs on the cd are more justice oriented, there still aren't any that can be used for corporate worship. Either way, it's worth having, though. Hope all is well with you!