Please stop what you’re doing and treat yourself to this amazing post over at Liberate by a worship leader I respect and appreciate, Sam Bush. He spends some time exegeting the hymn, “Hallelujah! What a Savior,” by Philip Bliss…a favorite of mine and a staple here at Coral Ridge. He hits on themes I try to bring up that I don’t think enough attention is drawn to in discussions of the “aim” of worship songs.
One reason why it might remain on the fringe is because it lacks any mention of Christian responsibility. There are no pledges to be faithful, no requests for teaching. The main focus, from beginning to end, stays fixed on Jesus Christ, the “Man of Sorrows,” and each verse ends with an exclaimed “Hallelujah! What a Savior!”
One of the miracles of worship is that, even if only for a moment, one’s mind isn’t focused inwardly. Martin Luther, expounding on Augustine, describes human nature as incurvatus in se, something that is “so deeply curved in on itself that it only bends the best gifts of God towards itself.” Luther admits that even worship can be turned into self-worship since our nature “so wickedly, cursedly, and viciously seeks all things, even God, for its own sake” (Lectures on Romans).
Go read the post!