Earlier this week, the gospel song, "O Lord You're Beautiful," kept coming to my mind. Written by the late Keith Green, this chorus was a frequent part of Sunday morning worship when I was growing up. Thanks to the wonders of modern technology, a few clicks brought the above video to my screen--and a surprise.
For as long as I've sung this song, these are the words that I know by heart:
Oh Lord, you're beautiful
Your face is all I seek
And when your eyes are on this child
Your grace abounds to me.
Oh Lord, please light the fire
That once burned bright and clear
Replace the lamp of my first love
That burns with holy fear.
I was singing along when there were suddenly words and music that were not in my memory:
I want to take your Word
And shine it all around.
But first, help me just to live it, Lord.
And when I'm doing well
Help me to never seek a crown.
For my reward is giving glory to you.*
Wait! I thought to myself. I know this song. I've known it for a long time. When did they add new lyrics to it? I realized that for nearly 25 years, I only knew part of the whole story. I was missing out on the whole song.
This is probably true of many songs we sing in church. Many of us can probably sing the first and last verses of many hymns from memory, but what about those middle verses? We often leave them out or forget them. The same is true of other contemporary Christian songs like "O Lord You're Beautiful." In order to learn the basics of the songs, we cut out verses--and lose a lot of the message.
Is not the same true in our relationships with God, how we read Scripture, and the ways that we worship? We get in habits and stay in those habits when there's a plethora of "unsung verses" that God desires we sing. As creatures of habit, it's hard to learn something new--or something that's been there all along. But we must do so. God desires that we study the Scriptures in more depth, learn more about each other, and explore the different avenues of ministry available in the Church. I am grateful to have discovered a new, old prayer in "O Lord You're Beautiful" that is perfect for this pastor. Will you join me in pushing ourselves to go beyond the familiar lyrics of community worship and individual relationships with God?
all good things to each of you,
* Lyrics to Keith Green's "O Lord You're Beautiful"