Friday, November 19, 2010

Praise Us Rising

Roughly half the time Hosanna (Praise Is Rising) is sung during a church service a part of me dies.

Since the first time I heard the song I’ve always loved verse two. It went like this:

Hear the sound of hearts returning to you
We turn to you
In your Kingdom broken lives are made new
You make all things new

Any time I sang the song in my home church, that’s how it was sung. As far as we were concerned, that was the only way to sing it.

How wrong we were.

There is a school of thought that has changed the last line ever so slightly, and by doing so they have ruined everything. Participate in a church service and you may end up singing the following:

In your Kingdom broken lives are made new
You make us new

“All things” I once held dear has been counted as “us” for the sake of…it being slightly easier to sing in time? It’s a disgrace, Bill. Think of what is lost. First and foremost, the Biblical echo has all but disappeared. “Behold, I am making all things new” is blocked from infiltrating our imaginations. As Richard Hays has convincingly shown, an echo of Scripture can merely be the tip of the iceberg, with the surrounding text also making its way into the scenery of our imaginations (and what a surrounding text Revelation 21 is). All of this is evaporated as we sing the true but vague “You make us new”.

Second, the focus has narrowed from “all things” to “us”. God’s plan to redeem the whole of his creation has become God’s plan for our individual salvation. The two aren’t mutually exclusive, of course, but the second is best understood in the context of the first, lest we think that the world revolves around “us”. God is not only making the people who sing Hosanna (Praise Is Rising) new. God is not only making Christians new. God is making all things new. God has a stake in the whole of his creation, and in Christ he has acted to reconcile the world to himself. Or as Colossians puts it,

For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, 
and through him to reconcile to himself all things, 
whether on earth or in heaven, 
making peace by the blood of his cross.

“All things” is the scope of this beautiful hymn in Colossians 1, because it is the scope of God himself. Presently we do not see all things inhabiting his kingdom, but we see Jesus – the one who is “making all things new”.

If you sing or play on a worship team, do not let the “us” people get away with their sabotage! I read recently that words create our worlds, therefore we must endeavour to choose our words carefully.

No comments:

Post a Comment