Seriously, get up right now and walk away from the computer. Walk out of the room, down the hallway, out the door, and into the nearest church building. Now, try to find someone inside who can’t sing the song “Jesus Loves Me.”
You can’t. Want to know why you can’t? Because probably about half the people in that building had that song permanently engraved into their brains (metaphorically, of course) before they could even read. The other half have learned the song after listening to their children incessantly sing it. After all, to a five-year-old, church songs are serious business.
Let me explain. As a five-year-old, I didn’t mess around when it came to singing church songs. I wanted to know every single song. I was not satisfied with the basic melody and a rough understanding of the words; I wanted to sing every line with certainty. No, I wasn’t pathological. I just really loved church songs. I think anyone who grew up in the church can relate – there’s something about coming together as a group and singing songs that just makes you happy, as silly as that may sound. Singing about a guy named Jesus that loves you no matter what isn’t too bad, either.
But what about once we get to old for Sunday school? What about once we’ve heard all the songs a million times and they no longer seem quite so magical? What about when we feel so lost and confused that worship is the last thing on our minds? What about when we are so sad and lonely that the idea of “making a joyful noise” seems impossible, if not ridiculous?
I think times like these are when worship matters the most. It’s easy to praise God when everything is going your way; it’s when things aren’t going the way you want that the rubber truly meets the road.
In my life, worship has been a rock to lean on when everything else seems uncertain. I become confused and frustrated by Scripture that’s difficult to interpret accurately and sometimes contradicts itself. I become disgusted with a “culture of Christianity” that seems so far away from what Jesus intended for his body of saints. I become overwhelmed by the unlikelihood of a man rising from the dead and I fear being made fun of for believing it. I curse. I lie. I judge other people. I do what’s fun instead of what will bring me true joy. I go to God in prayer and it feels like he is a million miles away.
No matter what doubts I may have and what struggles I may be dealing with, God doesn’t change. He is exactly who he always was and who he always will be. He deserves my praise whether I’m having a good day or a bad day, a good week or a bad week, a good year or a bad year.
So next time you’re feeling doubtful, empty, or uninspired, trying belting out a rousing rendition of “Jesus Loves Me.” It’s a fact we all need to be reminded of sometimes, and I have complete and total faith that when you’re singing God’s praises, you’re speaking the truth. And isn’t the truth what we’re all searching for, anyway?
Tatum Hunter is a first-year English major from Cincinnati. She enjoys a lot of things, but most of them are cats. She aspires to correct other people’s grammar for a living.
Join the Ecumenical Ministry Team for iPraise, Tuesday, October 30 at 8 pm in Kennedy Auditorium/CLC.