Last week, here in the good Old USA, even non-Irish folk celebrated St. Patrick's Day in one way or another. Somewhere, way back, my father's family acquired some Irish genes and my childhood experience was peppered with some rather odd sayings and songs, a reminder of our lineage. Some of my family boasted gorgeous auburn hair and milky white skin, others were rather hotheaded :-). My Grandpa Joe loved soccer and, according to family lore, his temper changed so much after he was born again, that his loss of aggression made him a useless player! It would seem Irish blood, even small amounts of it, can be blamed for many things!
There is great value in passing on stories and songs, from generation to generation. It gives us a sense of being part of something much greater than our present and in fact, in many cultures, tribal history is still sustained through Praise Songs and Storytelling. We need this to feel connected to our heritage and without this knowledge, our very souls are deeply adrift.
It's no wonder then that the Word of God places such value on the Story of Redemption, urging us to keep our testimony alive “unto death.”
Call me old-fashioned, but I think that with our tendency these days to discard the hymns of our Christian heritage, we have done our present generation of believers a great disservice, and the theology of the average Christian (whoever that is!) has suffered because of it. I deeply appreciate worship facilitators who choose to blend the old and the new, calling us to celebrate the past as well as revel in the present.
As for me, I need no great imagination to hear the glorious roar of the “great crowd of witnesses” when invited to join my voice with “those who have gone on before” in a hymn that bridges time itself.