Martha gripped the chair in front of her when she stood with the congregation for the last song. Her granddaughter bounced to the music beside her, raising both arms and pointing toward heaven. While Kayla sang with joy, Martha read the words on the screen but pressed her lips together.
As they walked out of church, Kayla hummed the song, taking little dancing steps beside her grandmother.
“Please stop,” Martha said. “I don’t want it stuck in my head all day.”
“Why don’t you like music, Grandma?”
Martha grimaced “I love music. Just not this kind. It’s so repetitive.” The worship songs the church was using now were hard to sing and were too loud. She simply didn’t like modern worship music.
“What do you mean?”
“You know.” Martha started chanting, “Oh how He loves me, oh how He loves me, oh how He loves me, oh how He loves me . . .”
Kayla grinned at her grandmother. “Well, He does, doesn’t He?”
“Of course, but there are much more creative ways to say it. ‘The love of God, is greater far, than song or tongue can ever tell . . .’” Martha started to sing, but stopped mid-word. Somehow it felt wrong to argue about God’s love. She should be an example for Kayla.
“Hymns are repetitive too.” Kayla wasn’t ready to give up the argument. “Standing, standing, standing, standing, standing.” She danced around her grandmother and stopped in front of her with a stamp of each foot. “On the promises.”
Martha couldn’t resist a response. “That’s one song. You won’t find many others.”
“Really? I bet I can.” Kayla ran off at her mother’s call, but looked back to say, “Just wait.”
“She doesn’t even know any hymns,” Martha muttered. “I can find a lot more of her songs that are repetitive.” She immediately felt ashamed of herself.
That night Kayla sent an e-mail with a list of hymns. Martha sang the familiar words, looking for repetition.
“and crown Him Lord of all”
“may Jesus Christ be praised”
Twice in the song hardly counts as repetitive. But I guess Power in the Blood would count.
She didn’t respond right away, but she started thinking about the songs they had sung in church recently. She jotted them down as she heated some soup and sat at the table eating it. The next morning she sent Kayla her list without comment.
Kayla’s response was also short – “LOL” - followed by another list. Martha hadn’t even heard of some of the titles on it. She found an old hymnal in her bookcase and looked them up. She had to admit that her granddaughter had been thorough in her research.
Probably used the internet, not a hymnal.
As she rifled through the pages of her book, it fell open to one of her favorite hymns. “O worship the King,” she sang, her voice rising with the familiar words.
After singing every verse, she sat looking at the book, feeling the joy this song always brought her. Worship the King. That’s why we sing.
The shame she had felt when she first responded to Kayla’s challenge returned. Does it really matter whether songs are repetitive? Does it even matter whether I like them?
She bowed her head and asked forgiveness for a selfish and critical spirit she knew she had been harboring for a while. Then she wrote to Kayla.
“Sweetie, you’ve made your point. But I learned something more important from you. We sing to worship God and the style of music doesn’t matter. I love that you love to worship Him and I’m looking forward to worshipping with you on Sunday.”
Martha clicked send, closed the computer and started singing, “Oh how He loves me.”
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