I had a great time at the Casting Crowns concert last night! But it was so much more than just a concert – it was a wonderful night of worshipping God and allowing Him to work in my heart on some things that need work. There are a number of things I could focus on in writing about thoughts I had on songs that were played, and I’m sure some of those songs will be the subject of my Music Monday posts over the next few weeks. But today I want to share one of the songs that is on Casting Crowns’ upcoming CD Come to the Well that is due out October 18. This song is called City on the Hill and you can listen to it by clicking on the title – the link will take you to a RootMusic page with an audio file of the song.
“City on the Hill” is a very convicting song about division in the Church today. We are called to be a city on a hill shining the Light of Christ to a hurting world. But as we fight over petty differences we cause that Light to fade so that the world can barely find it.
The Light has not been extinguished, and it never will. But if Christians continue to focus on what we are against then the world will never see the Light that our negativity obscures. If we continue to be critical of one another about things that are not essential to the faith then the Light will be obscured even to those within the Church. If we focus on our preferences in the style and conduct of worship instead of on spreading the love and Light of Christ to a hurting world then we fail to do the will of God.
Such division is not new. Paul wrote warning the early Church in Rome to avoid divisions that would cause the Light of Christ to fade: “I urge you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them. For such people are not serving our Lord Christ, but their own appetites. By smooth talk and flattery they deceive the minds of naive people.” Romans 16:17-18 (NIV).
You see the poets thought the dancers were shallow
And the soldiers thought the poets were weak
And the elders saw the young ones as foolish
And the rich man never heard the poor man speak
Each one thought that they knew better
But they were different by design
Instead of standing strong together
They let their differences divide
But it was the rhythm of the dancers
that gave the poets life
It was the spirit of the poets
that gave the soldiers strength to fight
It was the fire of the young ones
It was the wisdom of the old
It was the story of the poor man
that needed to be told
I see this in the Church today, each one thinking they know better. Christians who because of grace should know better arguing over the kind of music to be played in worship or how the prayers should be conducted, disagreeing over the “right” way to do things. Denominations disagree over whether a strict liturgy should be followed or whether a worship service should be free to be led by the Spirit.
The big problem in that last sentence is the word “should.” There is no right and wrong when it comes to worship style or other nonessential differences in the Church, as long as the focus is on the Light of Christ and the Glory of God. We are different by design and all have something to give to fuel the awesome Light of the City on the Hill. If we honor those differences while lifting up our Savior then the world will be able to find the City on the Hill. Let us stand strong together on our Rock and Redeemer and not let our differences divide.