One year we had one called "Mystery!" All of the songs and piano pieces had titles like "Spooky Footsteps," "Descent into the Crypt," "Through the Night Mist," and "Dixieland Detectives." All the students came dressed as a famous detective from TV or fiction. We had Sherlock Holmes, Dr Kay Scarpetta, Magnum PI, Columbo, and Miss Scarlet from the Clue game, among many others.
Nathan was home from college that week and he and I worked up a special duet. First, I put him in his college chorus tuxedo and introduced him as the detective whose theme he and I would be performing—Peter Gunn. If you don't know the name, Peter Gunn was the first detective created for television rather than being adapted from some other media. The show starred Craig Stevens and Lola Albright, who played his girlfriend Edie Hart. It debuted on September 22, 1958 and ran for three seasons. Even if you have never seen the show (I never saw one until I was grown and saw it on the oldies channel), I bet you have heard the music. Talk about modern and catchy—this one has it all. Blue notes, syncopation, quarter note triplets against a steady eighth note beat. You can't help but move something when you hear it—a toe, a knee, a shoulder or two. It won an Emmy and two Grammys for Henry Mancini and was performed and recorded by many others. Nathan and I have played it in a couple of places since then, and it is always an audience pleaser.
Audience pleasers. That's a good phrase when you are talking about a concert performance. That's what a concert is for—pleasing the audience. That is NOT what worship is about. Worship is about pleasing God. I happened to think about that when a song leader I know, a trained musician, by the way, who does an outstanding job of leading, told me that he was criticized for leading "boring songs."
First of all, who exactly is being bored? If it's the audience, then maybe they should remember what they are doing—worshipping God not pleasing themselves. That ought to take care of the "boring" problem right there.
Second, why is it "boring?" If it's because they don't have enough Bible knowledge to recognize Biblical references, nor enough depth to their thinking to understand the allusions and feel the goosebumps at some of the most beautiful poetry ever written, then they should be ashamed of themselves. The Bible may be easy to understand, but it is not a comic book. Nor is it a See-Jane-Run first grade primer. The older I get, the more I love the songs that speak the Word of God in lyrics that truly make me think and keep me thinking long after the last chord has rung in the rafters.
Neither the song leader, the prayer leader, nor the preacher should have to try so hard to keep our attention if our worship is sincere. If the only things that keep me interested in either the singing or the sermons and classes is laughter-inducing stories, toe-tapping rhythm, and shoulder-lifting blue notes, I may as well roll in a piano and have Nathan come with me and play a rousing rendition of "Peter Gunn." I promise you'll like it and won't be bored. Whether or not you get anything spiritual from it, whether or not you hear any teaching and admonishing, whether or not God is pleased, is another matter altogether.
But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil. (Heb 5:14).