I just finished listening to a commercial for songs by Allan Jackson, songs like:
- What a Friend We Have in Jesus
- Leaning On the Everlasting Arms
- Amazing Grace
- I Love to Tell the Story
- This is My Story
- Love Lifted Me
- He Lives!
- Blessed Assurance
- When We All Get to Heaven
- Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus
- How Great Thou Art
- Precious Memories.
These songs brought back precious memories of my early journey in Christianity. They were so simple and straightforward. While listening to those old songs “my heart felt strangely warmed.” They captured the essence of what a 16 1/2 year-old kid, who had just discovered Jesus for the first time, felt.
I know most theologians think these hymns are too simple. But are they really? Do those of us trained in theology make things too complicated? Do we turn up our nose at people who find assurance and peace in those simple songs? Are present day songs any better? I don’t think so. Any song that melts your heart and motivates you to tell the story is okay with me, even if it’s not so good theology. Like the song “I’ll Fly Away,” a song I remember singing in the hallways of seminary.
Pastors, don’t get so sophisticated in your theology that you can’t connect with your congregation or worst yet, people far from God. Come down from your theological high horse and wallow in the everyday. Do whatever you have to do to connect with those who don’t know the old story, who need a friend like Jesus, who need to be lifted by love, so that some day they can tell the old story. After all isn’t that what sharing the faith is all about?
Folks, anything that can take you hack to the moment Jesus came into your life is worthy of respect. They are precious memories that hopefully will return your eyes upon Jesus.