My First Lent – Day 41 – Thinking about Worship and Going Old School with Keith Green

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Remember cassette tapes? Anyone still have some?

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about worship. I’m not here to ignite any terribly unpleasant discussion about the nature of worship music and what’s proper & what isn’t.

But during the church transition, during the Lenten season, I’ve been thinking about how worship is so different from church to church. And that’s why I’m not going to dare say one way is more correct than another.

But what does matter about worship is where our focus is… and realizing that worship is more than just a music set. It’s more than a spot-on performance and raising the entertainment factor. We can get all that outside of the church, can’t we?

We live in a day where we have 24 hour music – in your car via FM Radio, satellite radio, streaming services like Pandora, Spotify, iTunes. We could constantly be bombarded with worship music if we’d like.

And that’s when I think about that old cassette tape. You either went and plunked down $10 on a cassette of your favorite artist or you had a double cassette deck where you made a mix tape. And you hoped that your cassette tape didn’t break. You couldn’t just download it again, you know?

Worship music to me was mainly the hymns of the Independent Baptist church I grew up attending. Oh, and Patch the Pirate. And then… oh yes, my dad’s secret pleasure that would have brought down the scorn of so many of the ultra pious in that church of my youth: Don Francisco and Keith Green.

Yes, growing up in that church and environment, Keith Green was bringing all sorts of terrible music to the Christian scene. And yet now, as I review his music, so many of his songs were nothing but passages of the Bible set to his unique blend of piano music. His lyrics were deep. They told stories. They taught doctrine. They were prayers set to music.

I loved riding alone in the car with my dad, listening to Don and Keith on his little mix tape he procured while working in facilities at a Southern Baptist Church. This was music unlike anything I heard on Sunday mornings, evenings, and Wednesday nights… and the many weeknight revival services… and the thrice weekly chapel services at the Christian school… and the occasional missionary conference. Okay, so yeah, we practically lived at church.

And so, as I think about worship and the different styles, I think back to Keith Green playing in the cassette deck of my parent’s little car. I can feel the wind through the rolled down windows blowing my hair as my dad sang along to this new, beautiful style of music. And the songs still resonate deep in my soul as I hear them again today.

So enjoy Keith Green’s There is a Redeemer. It’s still such a wonderful song.

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