Monday, May 31, 2004

Be Careful What You Sing

An experience yesterday in Pavlovo reminded me that we as Christians should always study and understand the words we sing from our hymnals.

As as closing song, we sang the familiar tune "This World Is Not My Home" but with an extra verse, and I noticed the verse not just because the words were unfamiliar but because of what they said. Here's how it goes:

I have a loving mother up in gloryland;
I don't expect to stop until I shake her hand.
She's waiting now for me in heaven's open door,
And I can't feel at home in this world anymore.

I stopped singing the verse because I thought it was talking about Mary, the mother of Jesus. I asked Jeff later, and he doesn't think the context lends itself to that conclusion. The songbook is compiled by Baptists, for instance, and the Catholic religion treats Mary as someone more special than the Bible does. Jeff thinks, instead, that the verse is a reference to our individual mothers after they have died and gone to heaven.

In either case, it reminded me that we need to be careful what we sing, especially here in Russia, where several of the songs we sing have extra verses than in our hymnals in America. We should not sing words that conflict with what the Bible teaches, and to avoid that problem, we must know both what our songs and the Bible teach.


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