In the children’s worship class at my church, there is a tug-of-war of sorts over the music. For a long time, the standard request every Sunday morning was Joshua Fought the Battle of Jericho. Kids lined up along the wall and sang the song, and then fell down at “the wall came tumbling down” – except that several children found it hilarious every week to remain standing, and then we would sing it again to see if we could get the whole wall down.
After several years of this routine, a number of us teachers felt that we could no longer take it. The song was loud and chaotic, and there was no evident spiritual benefit. Some of the kids really disliked it. So we wielded our adult power and stopped taking that request in favor of songs like This Little Light of Mine and Jesus Loves Me. Before long, a formal petition was registered by one child participant in the form of a letter taped to the children’s worship wall: “Don’t band Joshwa foght the Batle of Jaraco from this cherch.” Our worship director’s comment? “Song preference troubles start young.”
Indeed, we all seem to have strong opinions about church music. Song preferences run deep in the river of culture, generational experience, and personal life history. I have struggled through many a church worship service in my life fuming about the music. This, I could point out, is not the most Christian attitude toward worship.
Mindfulness has something to offer here. The things that get me fuming about song choice are thoughts. Not facts, but judgments – my interpretations and cognitive reactions to the songs. Recently, I have started practicing mindful awareness during worship services.
Mindfulness helps me worship.
9/14/2019 08:38:19 pm
A person’s pathway to God usually is consistent but often has variety - the Spirit surprises in many creative ways. Best to know one’s way she is most likely to commune with God AND be mindful that the creative Spirit blows also in fresh and refreshing new ways. In other word, be mindful of the Spirit’s presence and ministry. SHALOM
10/5/2019 04:29:00 pm
I lead worship in my church and I have a hard time explaining how I am still able to spiritually connect even when having to pay close attention to staying on key, temp, etc. I love it. I feel so connected to my church family.
1/31/2022 09:41:58 am
I liked it the most when you shared that song preferences run deep in the river of culture, generational experience, and personal life history. My friend is so fond of hip-hop gospel music, and so she wants her children to develop a fondness for it as well. I think it would be more helpful if she find an album of hip-hop gospel music for children and make them listen to it regularly.
4/26/2022 10:18:23 am
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I am Irene Kraegel. I am licensed as a clinical psychologist and teach mindfulness on a faith-based university campus. I practice mindfulness because it opens me up to God (a.k.a. brings joy). I am writing here in hopes of sharing some of my experiences and thoughts related to the practice of mindfulness in the life of a Christian. Thanks for reading!
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