I am currently in the process of writing a paper on “a theology of worship.” Note: a theology, not the. Thank goodness. At the same time, I have also been working on a lecture to be presented to our school faculty about the musical choices we make for our school chapel. During this process, these words continued to come to my mind:
May the words of my mouth
And the meditations of my heart
Be acceptable in Your sight
For you Oh Lord, are my rock and my redeemer.
Psalm 19: 15
My childhood pastor used to pray these words every Sunday before he began to preach. I wonder how often we think on these words before we sing our praises to God in worship.
When speaking of the sacrificial system described in the book of Leviticus, late Jewish Scholar Nahum Sarna wrote, ” If the prescribed norms are not adhered to, the sacrifice is said to be unacceptable, and the harmony in the relationship between the devotee and God that it is intended to promote remains disturbed.” (On the Book of Psalms: Exploring the Prayers of Ancient Israel, 95). We sing of a “sacrifice of praise.” To me, there seems to be a disconnect between this idea of acceptable sacrifice and our poppy tunes – often shallow in both musical craft and theological message. What are we sacrificing? What are we offering? Mediocre entertainment? Pale copies of what the godless world has come up with? I feel it is akin to offering our leftovers to a Holy God. Thanks be to God, the only necessary and final sacrifice has been paid through the blood of Christ. Yet, in light of this (not in spite of this) should we not all the more carefully consider our praise?
What are the words of our mouth?
What are the meditations of our heart?
Could they in any way be acceptable?