On The Future of Psalms
[As a disclaimer I'd like to admit that I have no knowledge of the religious preference of the members of Mumford and Sons. I have not done research on this, and I don't believe it to be relevant to the conversation. So please don't take any assumptions you read about the band here as fact. I'd also like to say that in the course of writing this I strayed a good bit off of what I originally wanted to talk about. To get back on course would have required twice as much writing and extensive editing. I've decided to leave this as an example of randomness and choosing to come back to the topic at a later date.]
I am here to talk about the nature of worship as you may know it. Honestly I think there needs to be a re-definition of that very term, but I suppose I'll get to that later. I am writing this in response to what I believe is the greatest psalm to be written in recent memory, and released only a week ago. The song is called "I Will Wait" by the band Mumford and Sons, the first single from their upcoming album Babel.
You can listen to it here:
Now why exactly do I believe this to be the greatest psalm ever written? Well besides the fact that it encapsulates a real connection between a human being and God, focusing on the forgiveness and life He grants, I call it the greatest because you probably didn't even realize it was a psalm. I bet that if you weren't paying attention closely, you wouldn't have noticed it was even about God at all, was even written TO God, actually. In fact, their previous album, Sigh No More, is full of songs like this, though not as blatant, speaking about the struggles and passions of humanity while relating it to the same God (not actually named) that Jesus talks about. Biblical values exist in their lyrics, which is totally uncommon from a band of their caliber, and only part of the reason why I love their music so much.
Mumford and Sons has subtly infiltrated mainstream music with what some christians might call "worship." I just call it truth.
Why do you think this has happened?
I believe it is because they're passionate. They have a gift that they aren't afraid of sharing. They are artists who aren't afraid to be vulnerable. They don't do it for their own glory. They do it for the sake of creation, because they have no other choice. This was written in their bones a long time ago. It wouldn't matter if they are playing at the Grammy's or a friend's living room, they would play with the same amount of gusto, the only way they know how, as if it were their last show, their last song, or their last note.
Honestly I can't claim any of the above to be true, but you know what, I would sure like to think it is.
What I do know is that I Will Wait is no ordinary song that's being talked about in the news, played on the radios, or memorized around the country. It's a song that describes and intimate relationship, or understanding, with the God that I know to be true. And it has been my passion for years to create songs exactly like it.
Recently I've been fed up with what's become known as the Christian and Gospel label, and I know that I'm not the only one that feels this way. Christian Music, as some of my friends have described it, doesn't make sense "because music cannot be 'saved'." I use the terms because it's convenient, and the way that the world has come to define such boundaries. However it has now become the cause of so much dissension. Christians and Churches will stay away from any music that does not carry these labels - or what they call secular - and have sometimes considered these things to be sinful. You'll see exaggerated versions of this in a recent movie/musical called "Rock of Ages" and you can bet it is one of the stupidest battles I've ever seen christians take on (If you don't count the recent Chick-Fil-A fiasco…((man I'm all sorts of current events up in here.))
Christians have also used this as a means of separating us from the rest of the world. Of keeping "our music" in the churches, during our "worship" hour, and making sure that every song that is written about God sound exactly the same. We have become redundant. We have become hopeless.
And then here we have a band that's not here to be overtly christian. Not trying to find a new way of doing things, or struggling to be relevant in the ever expanding sea of pop-culture. Not trying to be the next big thing. Using what they know, and without limiting themselves, they are creating music that speaks from the heart and resonates with the world - the sad reality of which we find our current existence.
And I'll be this is only the beginning.
Because it's my dream to see this change happen.
It's my goal to write music with these same sensibilities. The same way one would paint, dance, or create. I want to write songs that speak to the heart, and not just the mind.