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That Same Old Song

October 8, 2021

Remember “the worship wars” in local churches?

Seems quaint now, but we used to argue over whether or not to have drums in the sanctuary.

Okay, to many of us, that seems more than “quaint” — it seems ridiculous and embarrassing.

And we’ve argued over church songs. More accurately, we’ve argued over styles of songs in worship.

I’ll stop there. My point: we’ve missed the point.

One of the earliest songs of Christ’s Holy Church is tucked in the opening of a letter from our old friend St. Paul. Scholars argue over whether he wrote it or quoted it; let’s you and me stay out of that one and read the lyrics —

We look at this Son and see the God who cannot be seen. We look at this Son and see God’s original purpose in everything created. For everything, absolutely everything, above and below, visible and invisible, rank after rank after rank of angels—everything got started in him and finds its purpose in him. He was there before any of it came into existence and holds it all together right up to this moment. And when it comes to the church, he organizes and holds it together, like a head does a body.

He was supreme in the beginning and—leading the resurrection parade—he is supreme in the end. From beginning to end he’s there, towering far above everything, everyone. So spacious is he, so expansive, that everything of God finds its proper place in him without crowding. Not only that, but all the broken and dislocated pieces of the universe—people and things, animals and atoms—get properly fixed and fit together in vibrant harmonies, all because of his death, his blood that poured down from the cross.

—- “Sounds more like a theological argument than a hymn, Joe!” Yeah, and two things about that are important:

1. It was part of the set up to a solid presentation of who Christ is.

2. Do we even pay attention to the lyrics we sing?

From a slightly different version, here’s that same old song —

The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.

—- We’ll come back to this at some point. For now, join me in an Amen to this old song from Colossians 1:15-20.

Looking forward to seeing you back here tomorrow!

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