The Poetic Language of John Mark McMillan
By Jon Nicol
After buying the iTunes download of John Mark McMillan's The Medicine, I burned a CD for listening in my car. And then I burned another. And another.
For whatever reason the "Death in His Grave" track would stop about 20 seconds in. I converted it and used various burners to no avail. Darn you, iTunes. Darn, you.
Maybe it's because this song is always ripped from my ears me 20 seconds in, or maybe it's because it's so flippin' awesome, but it's my favorite tune from that album. So I was stoked to catch a repost of a line by line commentary from JMM's blog.
Go ahead, read it, I'll wait.... Good stuff, isn't it? I especially liked his discussion of colloquial and theological language, poetic metaphor, etc.
The question I want to ask today is, "Would you do this song in your church?" Or if you have - was it part offered as a special or a congregational worship song?
I want to do this song in my church, but I hesitate...
...and, at least for now, arrive at No.
I don't think we're there yet. About a year ago I wrote about what I believe will be the coming worship war - the mess and metaphor of the Millennials' lyrics colliding with the more literal lyrics of the Boomers, squarely raised in modernity.
The Gen Xers like me will be in the middle. The modern era left a far deeper mark on us than Gen Y/Millennials. But we as a generation grew up in the emerging postmodernity and, I think, are more open to our worship not being as neat and tidy as the generation before. Heck, we're mostly to blame/thank for the emerging church movement. Our apologies for some of that.
But back to my church, I suspect that the imagery of this song would leave too many people scratching their heads - they'd miss the forest for the oddly-shaped trees - beautiful to some, just plain weird and confusing to others.
For me, I love it. But this is a moment as a worship leader when I have to die to my personal preferences. I think in my current context, it would distract at least as many as it would delight, if not more.
So how would your church respond to this song? Is it worth the risk? If you've done it, what was the reaction?
By the way, if you are going to do it, right now (and I can't say for how long), PraiseCharts has this song's charts for FREE. I downloaded them, because, just maybe...some day...
Between now and Good Friday (2012), get the devotional reading, Eight Words for only $1.89 by using the code GOOD at checkout.
March 28, 2012Tweet