Tag Archives: Star-Spangled Banner

Thou (Who?) Art Worthy

Every once in a while I come across an older post and think: “Anthony, that was some mighty fine write’n! You should re-post that.” So, that’s what I’m doing today. This was first published in 2011.

The Concert.

I have been playing music since my early years. Even before I could play an instrument, I would often sing with my mom and dad at different church services and revivals. So, especially with all the later experience of playing with 7 different groups over 25+ years, I should know a little about being on stage.

One of the things about playing music in front of a large audience is the adrenalin rush you get when everything goes just right, especially when the crowd responds with thunderous applause. Ask any musician or singer who has been there and done that…there’s nothing quite like it. Some have even compared it to a sensual experience that could be felt physically, almost like the effects of a drug.

Why is that? What would make a person feel so good at the reception of applause, screams of praise, worship? Worship? Yes, that’s what I said….worship. The reason it feels so good may be because it is too good; too good for us.

Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created. – Revelation 4:11 KJV

Please don’t think that I am coming down on Christian music, or anything like that. The last thing I would want to do is rip groups like Building 429, Third Day, or Casting Crowns, for example. But on the other hand, even Christian groups (and preachers, conference speakers, pastors, evangelists, etc.) need to re-examine, every now and then, Who is worthy of all praise.

Consider the Guitar “Solo”

Recently, at a Christian college basket ball game, I witnessed something that almost made me sick. Even my little girl thought it was strangely inappropriate. For the rendering of the national anthem, a solo electric guitarist stepped out onto the center of the court. Evidently trying to emulate Jimmy Hendrix, the Christian-school rocker proceeded to pitifully destroy The Star-Spangled Banner. But it was the ending of this amateurish exhibition that made me nauseous and indignant.

At the part of the tune where the lyrics would read, “o’er the land of the free,” the little ham hammed it up by repeating that measure three times, at least, each time going up an octave on the fret board. The worst part was when he stopped, before the last progression, and motioned to the crowd with out-stretched, beckoning hands, pleading for a louder response from the fans. Who were we supposed to be applauding, the brave men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice, or this wanna-be Hendrix?

Seriously think about this: when Christian musicians play on stage to adoring fans who have paid money to attend a well-publicized event, and the lead guitarist shreds four measures from the latest top 20 hit, who is receiving the praise? How can we do this appropriately in light of the above verse? Are we sharing in God’s glory, honor, praise? Maybe that’s why it feels “too” good.

A Suggestion

Steven Tyler (Aerosmith)

This is just a suggestion to all my friends on stage, whatever you do. Re-evaluate what you are doing. Make sure that your efforts to win the lost; to bring the congregation into a heart of worship; or to turn all eyes upon Jesus, do not make YOU the only object in their line of sight. This ain’t Wayne’s World, and we shouldn’t be Aerosmith.

We’re not worthy! We’re not worthy!” should be reserved for the ONE who IS.

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Filed under America, Christian Living, General Observations, self-worth, worship

Holidays Can Be Eightch E Double Hockey Sticks

Now wasn’t that a clever title? Took me a while to figure out “H.” Now, about those holidays…

There are plenty of them, you know. Everything from Christmas to the anniversary of President Obama’s fourteenth vacation. Everybody celebrates a special day once in a while, so…

Happy Independence Day!

But whatever the holiday, there are some inevitable horrors which we all must endure. Can you think of any? Here are a few that always seem to mess up my celebrations of famous dead people, religiously significant births, and historically important document signings.

  • Food– Have you ever noticed that the people who work the longest hours are the ones that make the most food at 2 a.m.? Why is it that every time we go somewhere to celebrate anything, my wife is always supposed to make something? Oh, I guess that wouldn’t be such a big deal, but why at midnight, or 2 in the morning? That’s just for small stuff like birthdays, or July 4th. Thanksgiving is murder on everybody, not just the turkey.
  • Long Drives – Why is it that the one place everybody wants to have a get-together is in the one place that no one can get to without a GPS? Then, when you do get there, where do you park? Why does this family member have to be the one with the least parking places and the most manicured lawn?
  • Packing – It never fails that whenever we have to go somewhere, even if it is just across town, the bigger the vehicle, the more stuff has to go. I have often wondered how much stuff my wife and daughters would think necessary if we all had to fit in a Mazda Miata? It probably wouldn’t matter. My wife is the queen of packing. One year our Ford Crown Victoria broke down 2 miles from our house. It was full, but she managed to swap everything over to a ’94 Honda Accord! I still don’t know how she did it.
  • Relatives – You know what I’m talking about. I bet you have relatives that you see every year, but can’t even remember their names. Sadly, they’re pretty much expendable. In reality, if you wait long enough, another waitress or bartender will come along and they’ll be part of somebody else’s family tree. Then, you won’t have to worry about going to the Dollar Tree for Christmas.
  • Fruit Cake – I hate it. I really, really, hate it. The worst part is that the same loaf gets re-gifted each year. There is no way to really calculate it’s age. Since it never decays, it may have been exposed to something weird back in the ’60’s, like chlordane, Dick Clark, or alien radiation.
  • Friends of Family – Who are these people? They are the lowly, orphaned, untouchables of society that can’t find their own party, so they stalk yours. They’re almost as creepy and unwanted as some that belong there. “Hey, who’s your friend?” “Oh, this is Bob, a co-worker of mine…He didn’t have anywhere else to go for the holiday.” ……..Can I just ask, “WHY?!” No, because if I upset him he might shoot me during the fireworks display.

Well, I hope that your holiday weekend is not hampered by silly stuff, but full of fun and hearty celebration. Even though the world is not what it used to be, America is still the Land of the Free. You can always leave the party if it gets a little too weird.

Dear God, may your blessings continue upon this nation, even though it is undeserving. Thank you for your mercy and grace that has made America the shining city on a hill for so long. Bring us back to the heart of our forefathers. Turn our hearts back to you.

“Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD…” – Psalm 33:12a

Oh! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved home and the war’s desolation!
Blest with victory and peace, may the heav’n rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation.
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: “In God is our trust.”
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

(Last verse of The Star Spangled Banner)

-Francis Scott Key, 1814

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Filed under Aliens, America, Food, General Observations, Life Lessons

Thou (Who?) Art Worthy

Every once in a while we need to re-examine what we do. In this case, I would like to re-examine….

The Concert.

I have been playing music since my early years. Even before I could play an instrument, I would often sing with my mom and dad at different church services and revivals. So, especially with all the later experience of playing with 7 different groups over 25+ years, I should know a little about being on stage.

One of the things about playing music in front of a large audience is the adrenalin rush you get when everything goes just right, especially when the crowd responds with thunderous applause. Ask any musician or singer who has been there and done that…there’s nothing quite like it. Some have even compared it to a sensual experience that could be felt physically, almost like the effects of a drug.

Why is that? What would make a person feel so good at the reception of applause, screams of praise, worship? Worship? Yes, that’s what I said….worship. The reason it feels so good may be because it is too good; too good for us.

Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created. – Revelation 4:11 KJV

Please don’t think that I am coming down on Christian music, or anything like that. The last thing I would want to do is rip groups like Building 429, Third Day, or Casting Crowns, for example. But on the other hand, even Christian groups (and preachers, conference speakers, pastors, evangelists, etc.) need to re-examine, every now and then, Who is worthy of all praise.

Consider the Guitar “Solo”

Recently, at a Christian college basket ball game, I witnessed something that almost made me sick. Even my little girl thought it was strangely inappropriate. For the rendering of the national anthem, a solo electric guitarist stepped out onto the center of the court. Evidently trying to emulate Jimmy Hendrix, the Christian-school rocker proceeded to pitifully destroy The Star-Spangled Banner. But it was the ending of this amateurish exhibition that made me nauseous and indignant.

At the part of the tune where the lyrics would read, “o’er the land of the free,” the little ham hammed it up by repeating that measure three times, at least, each time going up an octave on the fret board. The worst part was when he stopped, before the last progression, and motioned to the crowd with out-stretched, beckoning hands, pleading for a louder response from the fans. Who were we supposed to be applauding, the brave men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice, or this wanna-be Hendrix?

Seriously think about this: when Christian musicians play on stage to adoring fans who have paid money to attend a well-publicized event, and the lead guitarist shreds four measures from the latest top 20 hit, who is receiving the praise? How can we do this appropriately in light of the above verse? Are we sharing in God’s glory, honor, praise? Maybe that’s why it feels “too” good.

A Suggestion

 

Steven Tyler (Aerosmith)

This is just a suggestion to all my friends on stage, whatever you do. Re-evaluate what you are doing. Make sure that your efforts to win the lost; to bring the congregation into a heart of worship; or to turn all eyes upon Jesus, do not make YOU the only object in their line of sight. This ain’t Wayne’s World, and we shouldn’t be Aerosmith.

We’re not worthy! We’re not worthy!” should be reserved for the ONE who IS.

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Filed under America, Christian Living, General Observations, self-worth, worship