About a month ago I wrote about a non-Christian song that masquerades as religious (“Hallelujah” by Leonard Cohen). In addition, there are probably a few songs that are occasionally sung in churches that are more influenced by secular music and thought than any Christian background.
A few weeks ago I sat in a Spanish restaurant where fairly upbeat music came through the loudspeakers. Some of the songs were faintly familiar—I know Latin popular music better than the latest popular music in English. One song somehow felt somehow out of place, but the people around continued to sway with the rhythm as they heard (in Spanish):
I have a wonderful God in the heavens
and the love of his Holy Spirit
Through his grace I am a new person
and my song is full of joy.
I am a reflection of his image (wao – hoo, hoo)
the one who always carries me to victory (wao – hoo, hoo)
and has made me the head and not the tail
In Christ I can do all things.
Thousands, if not millions, of people have danced to these words around the world. The song is played in discos, on radio stations and well—restaurants. It was penned and performed by Juan Luis Guerra, one of the most famous musicians from the Dominican Republic and one of the best-selling Latin music artists ever. Coming from a nominally Christian family, Juan turned to God after he realised that all the fame and money couldn’t bring happiness. Since then, he has written and performed many songs with a Christian theme and many of his fans have accepted the new direction of his lyrics (which have many references to verses from both the Old and New Testaments).
I hope that in this way many people are exposed to the Christian message.
I wonder for how many people the music will go from the ears and feet to the heart and mind.
There are a few Christian hymns and songs that are used in settings not have no direct association with the church. “Oh when the saints”, “He’s go the whole world in his hands”, “Abide with me”,
and “Amazing Grace” are regularly heard in football stadiums, for example. I wonder whether any of the people singing or listening to these hymns ever reflect on the words. I admit it, sometimes I feel a tinge of irritation that apparently the meaning is stripped from these hymns, that they become pearls thrown to the swine, so to say (Matthew 7:6). More often though these Christian hymns and songs in a
non-church setting are like lights in the darkness.
I do hope that they may rather instill a longing for God.