Worship Matters: Repetition

Kim and I ran across a quote a few years back that seems to come to mind every couple of months. It is a curious quote – the kind that really makes you think, or at least it makes me think a great deal about God.

Something that you will hear from time to time regarding worship & music is that it is repetitious. Most of us have probably heard somebody say, “All this new music we sing at church is nothing more than 7-11 music.” (Meaning we pick 7 words and sing them over 11 times) You also might hear a comment about how often we sing certain songs or even, “I enjoyed your song but didn’t you just sing that very special a couple of months ago?”

I will be honest in that I haven’t heard any of these things at MPCC but I have in other churches and Christian circles. It always makes me think, “What is wrong with repetition?” Throughout our lives we will find songs, food and places (among many other things) that we enjoy and want to experience more than once….over and over in fact. Kim and I vacation at the same beach spot every single year – even in the same condo. So why, with all of this repetition in our lives, does it become touchy in the church or wherever you hear those kinds of things?

Back to that quote….it comes from a renowned English clergyman named GK Chesterton who lived until 1936 as was known as one of the most highly regarded and influential writers of the 20th century. He had some very interesting things to say on the subject of repetition:

“A child kicks his legs rhythmically through excess, not absence, of life. Because children have abounding vitality, because they are in spirit fierce and free, therefore they want things repeated and unchanged. They always say, “Do it again”; and the grown-up person does it again until he is nearly dead. For grown-up people are not strong enough to exult in monotony. But perhaps God is strong enough to exult in monotony. It is possible that God says every morning, “Do it again” to the sun; and every evening, “Do it again” to the moon. It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daisies alike; it may be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never got tired of making them. It may be that He has the eternal appetite of infancy;”

GK Chesterton from His book “Orthodoxy”

Food for thought, huh?

What do you enjoy repeating?

5 Responses to “Worship Matters: Repetition”
  1. Frank Yazvac says:

    I enjoy repeating any bridge to any song that rocks hard.
    Bridge with good shouting words=moments of oblivious praise.

  2. Ken says:

    Great thoughts, Brian. I like those 7-11 songs! Anyway, it occurs to me that all things deep and worthy of our devotion warrant a return to drink again. I need to pray over and over, and I need to say to God over and over what I feel, and I need to hear what He thinks of me over and over. When I hear God whisper He loves me, I don’t say, “Lord, you already said that. Can you tell me something new?”

    What do I like to read?

    Here’s one I’m working on. “The Good and Beautiful God: Falling in Love with the God Jesus Knows.”

  3. Mimi says:

    I love this – thank you, Brian! I’m going to have to look up Chesterton and read more of his writing.

  4. Linda Oldham says:

    Thanks for the Chesterton quote. I like the standard,”Anything good is worth repeating.” Amen!

  5. John Walker says:

    I like to relive that first kiss with my wife, the first time I touched her hand when I hold her hand tonight, the sunrise every morning. I relive the first cool evening of autumn, the freshness of the spring air with just-melted snow, singing alone in the woods at night or under the stars, alone with God. I can hear Amazing Grace over and over. I can hear “I love you” as often as she’ll say it. There is nothing monotonous about love, or peace, or hope, or dreams, or eternal life.

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