Still haven’t found what I’m looking for

The Pentecostal church I grew up in had drums, guitars, and tambourines. Hymns were old fashioned and easy to sing, and music literally filled the sanctuary and spilled out the windows for the benefit of the neighboring houses. People stood, clapped in time, tapped their feet, raised their hands toward heaven, and sometimes even danced in the aisles and around the wooden altar that stood in front of the stage. Songs like “I’ll Fly Away” and “Just A Closer Walk With Thee” are as ingrained into my personal makeup as my Kentucky accent.

I left the Pentecostal denomination as a young adult because I was sick and tired of the constant onslaught of sermons dealing with homosexuality. Regardless of my disagreements with some of the denomination’s beliefs, I never stopped adoring the sights and sounds of spirit-filled worship.

It will soon be four years since I started attending a local UCC (United Church of Christ), and while I couldn’t ask for a more open and accepting congregation, I have never been satisfied with the style of music or worship. Most song selections are unfamiliar and chosen solely for their relation to the sermon’s topic, which leaves many of us struggling to sing or not singing at all.

I visited a friend’s church on Sunday – one that is the polar opposite of my church. Where we are quiet and reserved, they were loud and charismatic. Seeing a different style of worship was very interesting, but it was still a far cry from the church of my youth. This mega-church-in-the-making had a band and the music had a decidedly rock and roll sound. Songs were once again unfamiliar, so the words were projected onto large screens on each side of the stage.

After all these years, I still haven’t found a church that fulfills my expectations in the musical arena, and I’m beginning to wonder if a church even exists that combines both my preferred style of music and a non-discriminatory stance on homosexuality. It just doesn’t seem right that I have to compromise one or the other in order to attend church.

‘Consider The Lilies’

When I was young, I would sing “Consider The Lilies” in church quite often. Because we never had a program for our services, it wasn’t something that was planned in advance and a member of the congregation would simply request that I get up and sing.

A recent blog entry by a friend about “worry” contained the following Bible passage and reminded me of the song.

Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?

And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

– Matthew 6:25-34 NIV

Consider The Lilies
Performed By Candy Hemphill

Consider the lilies
They don’t toil or spin
And there’s not a king
With more splendor than them
Consider the sparrow
They don’t plant or sow
But they’re fed by the master
Who watches them grow

We have a heavenly father above
With eyes full of mercy
And a heart full of love
He really cares when
Your head is bowed low
Consider the lilies
And then you will know

May I introduce you
To this friend of mine
Who hangs out the stars
And tells the sun when to shine
He kisses the flowers
Each morning with dew
But He’s not too busy
To love me and you

We have a heavenly father above
With eyes full of mercy
And a heart full of love
He really cares when
Your head is bowed low
Consider the lilies
And then you will know

‘He Looked Beyond My Fault and Saw My Need’

One of my favorite gospel songs, “He Looked Beyond My Fault and Saw My Need, ” was written by the incomparable Dottie Rambo. Take a moment to watch the attached video and you might quickly discern that it is set to the tune of “Danny Boy.” I love the lyrics, and the harmony on the chorus is simply gorgeous. Lyrics are below…

He Looked Beyond My Fault And Saw My Need

Written By Dottie Rambo, Performed By The Rambos

‘Amazing Grace’ shall always be my song of praise
For it was grace that bought my liberty
I do not know just why he came to love me so
He looked beyond my fault and saw my need

I shall forever lift mine eyes to Calvary
To view the cross where Jesus died for me
How marvelous the grace that caught my falling soul
He looked beyond my fault and saw my need