Riding with my oldest daughter to school means that I have the opportunity to hear country music. I can’t say that I am a big fan, but it is okay for the drive. She really enjoys hearing her favorites so I tolerate it. Today, though, a song that bothered me came on. She knew every word to it – but as I listened – I had a hard time wrapping my arms around what the artist was singing. I expressed my concern – I can only imagine that she was thinking…why can’t I have a normal Dad that just sings along rather than analyzing every song that comes on? This song has really made me think…
So the song is by Maren Morris, My Church. I even watched the YouTube video to get the whole “experience” of the song. The chorus goes like this:
“Can I get a hallelujah
Can I get an amen
Feels like the Holy Ghost running through ya
When I play the highway FM
I find my soul revival
Singing every single verse
Yeah I guess that’s my church”
And one of the verses:
“When Hank brings the sermon
And Cash leads the choir
It gets my cold coal heart burning
Hotter than a ring of fire
When this wonderful world gets heavy
And I need to find my escape
I just keep the wheels rolling, radio scrolling
Until my sins wash away”
The video has a choir singing as she drives away from the church, after smoking on the front steps – not actually being in the church. A choir, a hallelujah, a reference to church and the Holy Ghost…what could be wrong?
It certainly brings up the idea of the purpose of church. What is church? Does listening to the radio playing old country songs constitute church? The writer of the song certainly uses all the references to a traditional church. She mentions revival, singing, the sermon, a burning heart, a ring of fire, and sins being washed away…not to mention praises of hallelujah and amen. It reminds me of when people say they can have “church” while fishing…or doing any other activity that makes them happy. She brings nostalgic familiar words to something not often associated with the church.
If church is about us – about the people – about those who are there to feel better and find an escape from the world – then maybe Morris is on to something. If church is really about us and getting a good feeling and just helping people out along the way…then maybe that is church.
But, what if church isn’t about us at all? What if church isn’t about you and me finding a place that makes us happy? What if church isn’t about what we get out of it? What if church is about a community of believers coming together to worship a Holy God? What if the purpose of church is to worship…together…the only ONE who deserves worship?
I’m not saying riding in a car, singing along to your favorite music, letting the worries of the day go by is a bad thing. I am saying that this isn’t church. Church is so much more than you and me…Church is about worship – a group of broken people coming before a Holy God…redeemed, set free, and sent out to be more like HIM.