Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Southern Gospel...

Sunday night, our church hosted a Southern Gospel Quartet based locally. If you know me, you already know how much I was looking forward to this event, compounded by the fact that they were locals. Not 100% because of the music style...I don't mind barbershop too much. :)

But I noticed two things, through the gut-piercing harmony, and car salesman-esque personalities. (though I'm sure they were great guys, I'm just a cynic at times) One, were the lyrics. About 80% of what they sang about talked of "leaving this place", "riding that glory train", or a "home up yonder". Given - I'm really excited about what God will do someday, completely revealing Himself, etc. I'd definitely sing about it. But it seemed they were saying this life is a commercial for where everyone should really want to be. No songs about this life being a part of God's plan, etc. Maybe it's just really hard to work the lyrics "feeding the hungry" into a 4-part harmony...cause I'm sure each of these guys would offer their shoes to someone if it'd help them experience Jesus. It made me wonder if this was just Southern Gospel theology, or are there actual Southern Gospel groups with decent lyrics? Cause there were a few songs that talked simply about Jesus, and how much peace God offers, etc. But I don't think I'm brave enough to search.

But the second thing I noticed, was the impact the songs had on many of those present. I think the lyrics actually may have played a small role in what was going on with some. There was a sense of nostalgia happening, and I believe the Spirit of God moved through the room, reminding many of early moments in their faith. Times when they were excited about anticipating the work of God. Excited about the transformation and Hope that God offers a life. God offered to renew that same presence in that moment in those lives. This wasn't being done because of well delivered middle-aged humor, or annunciation of those performing, and definitely wasn't due to most of the lyrics.

It was the same sensation I get when I get up early in the morning on any campground and have time to myself. To walk while the sun is still rising, quietly taking in whatever scenery is nearby. (preferably some body of water, or some sort of wildlife) It takes me back to moments when I was growing up, at various camps I had privilege to attend, and found quiet times away from life. God met me there.

I can get down with that.

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