I listened to a conversation with Derek Webb recently in which he spoke thoughtfully on the issue of our tendency to be…shall we say, a bit critical…regarding the songs that we sing in church on Sundays. (I wouldn’t know anything about this)
I didn’t have a pencil to transcribe his words directly, so understand that this is my own paraphrase of Webb’s words:
Where did we get the idea that our preferences matter in church anyway? Personal style and preference can (and do) rule and guide the other six days of the week, but this is the Lord’s Day, in His house…
The principle is: it’s more important to be worshiping together with other believers than to “like” every song that you sing. In general, you should like about every third song that you sing in church. Because if you’re in a church that reflects any diversity at all, of course you’re not all going to have the same musical preferences! And so you sing the song that annoys you out of love for the brother down the pew who finds it meaningful. Because guess what? He probably didn’t like that one two songs back that “spoke” so plainly to you, and he sang it anyway.
You could stay home and listen to a podcast of your favorite preacher teaching your favorite text, and you could sing along to a playlist of all your favorite hymns and choruses. But that’s not church.
The point is to be together with other believers, with whom you may have nothing in common but Jesus, and to realize that that bond is enough. We worship in unity not for our own enjoyment and emotional response, but for the glory and praise of God.