Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Are We Really That Busy?

Today I came across some thoughts from A. W. Tozer. I love his stuff! He really makes me think fresh.

Worship: Omit the Third Verse

Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord, O my soul! While I live I will
praise the Lord; I will sing praises to my God while I have my
being.
--Psalm 146:1-2

I suppose it is not of vast importance that the third stanza is
so often omitted in the singing of a hymn, but just for the
record let it be said that the worshipers are deprived of the
blessing of the hymn by that omission if, as is often true, the
hymn develops a great Christian truth in sermonic outline. To
omit a stanza is to lose one link in a golden chain and greatly
to reduce the value of the whole hymn.

The significant thing, however, is not what the omission
actually does, but what it suggests, viz., a nervous impatience
and a desire to get the service over with. We are, for instance,
singing "When I Survey the Wondrous Cross." We long to forget
the big noisy world and let our hearts go out in reverent
worship of that Prince of Glory who died for us, but our sad
sweet longing is killed in the bud by the brisk, unemotional
voice of the director ordering us to "omit the third verse." We
wonder vaguely whether the brother is hungry or has to catch an
early train or just why he is so anxious to get through with the
hymn. Since all standard hymns have been edited to delete
inferior stanzas and since any stanza of the average hymn can be
sung in less than one minute...and since many of our best hymns
have already been shortened as much as good taste will allow, we
are forced to conclude that the habit of omitting the third
stanza reveals religious boredom, pure and simple, and it would
do our souls good if we would admit it. The Price of Neglect,
123-124.

God, forgive us for our desire to "get the service over with." What are we thinking?!

4 comments:

Beverly Ross said...

I love Tozer's work! I look forward to the day when we worship with no thought of time - our only focus is worshipping the One Lord. Thanks for sharing this quote today.

Josh Ross said...

This seems to only be true in American, or Americanized, churches. For instance, in Africa, India, and Mexico (just to name a few) worship services will last for hours, and the people love it. When I was involved in prison ministry, the services would last for 2 full hours. It was amazing. They didn't have anywhere to go.
All this to say, right on with the post.

Liz Moore said...

I think it all goes back to what we are focused on during our worship time to God. If we are focused on the right things, nothing else should matter except to show our love for God. I'm sorry to say there was a time in my life when I didn't always pay attention to the words and was glad when we didn't sing the 3rd verse to some of those songs. Especially if it wasn't one of the songs "I liked". I hope my relationship with God has matured way past that and I pray God forgives me for being so selfish. Great post!

Amy C said...

That has always bugged the snot out of me. Thank you for addressing it. Excuse the poor choice of words. It is late and my vocabulary goes down by the minute.