[notice]Hugh Wetmore is a songwriter and student of worship trends. He invites you to join the worship conversation by commenting on his monthly column.[/notice]
Valentine’s Day has prompted many a love-song. Some who never wrote songs before, suddenly find the inspiration of romantic love moves them into song-writing. Yes, that was how I started my song-writing career, singing my home-made love-songs to the girl who is now my wife. I even wrote my own Wedding Song, performed at our Reception: “Union with You”. The doyen of 20th Century hymn-writers, Timothy Dudley-Smith, told me he had begun his song-writing with love-songs to his wife, back in the 1940s. The Song of Solomon is a romantic love-song, and it’s so holy it’s in your Holy Bible. Human Love, pure as God intended it to be, can be celebrated in song in Church. Why don’t our contemporary worship song-writers give us some top rate Christian wedding love-songs?
But they do! (Wait a mo while I put my tongue in my cheek.) How about singing this one to your boy-friend? “Draw me close to you, never let me go, … you are my desire … feel the warmth of your embrace … You’re all I want”. He’ll be chuffed. But, you say, that song’s addressed to Jesus, not my boyfriend. How do you know? Nowhere does it mention Jesus, or God, or the Lord.
When Radio Pulpit was still on FM in the morning, I twiddled the dial searching for this Christian station. Yes, this was it – a worship song was playing, expressing my love and longing for the Lord. I felt moved to worship … until the lyrics expressed the desire to be in bed together all night. Oops, wrong station. A slight dial-move to the right and there was a Scripture reading. Yeah! Right station.
This Valentine’s column brings a two-fold plea: 1) We need wholesome, pure Christian love-songs that express romantic feelings and character values that will please Jesus. Christian youth should not have to find their romantic needs met outside of the Christian environment. We must bring our love-life consciously under the Lordship of Jesus Christ. And this includes music and song. [Contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org for the lyrics of 13 Christian love-songs to familiar tunes.]
2) We should make sure that the songs of love we sing to God clearly mention the Name of Jesus, God, or the Lord. There must be no vague ambiguity. The lyrics should express this love in Biblical language, and avoid the sensuous physicality that sometimes creeps in. And how about changing the first line of that song semi-quoted above, to read “Jesus, draw me close, never let me go …”? (SoF 1217)