Dignify and Deploy 32: Sing a Simple Song
‘We are going to sing to God, not about Him.’ Carol Wimber
Annette and I are Vineyard worshippers, through and through. From the start of our life together, we caught the upward rising of simple love songs to Jesus. Fear and heaviness broke as we enjoined our voices to love and trust Him.
‘You are my hiding place, You always fill my heart with songs of deliverance, whenever I feel afraid I will trust in You…’ Over and over, simple songs written deftly by a Spirited people ushered in His healing Presence for us.
We eagerly watched a new film ‘Jesus Music’ in the hope of catching a familiar melodic wave. Nada—just Christian pop stars singing about Him. I couldn’t recall a lyric to pray, just sexy polished narratives with a spiritual twist. I thought more about the singers and their crossover potential than Jesus.
John wouldn’t have wasted his time. A super accomplished jazz arranger and musician, he was also a pragmatist. He knew that writing simple was harder. And he knew that Christian musicians seeking poetic fame usually resulted in elitism that deflected the face of Jesus.
He fought for worship music that everyone could join, both the 3-chord guitarist and the off-key choir. John asked: ‘What good is it ultimately if we produce worship songs that only accomplished musicians can play? What will the little churches do?’
So, the big Vineyard Anaheim set about making simple songs to sing and play for little guys around the globe. Before Bethel and Hillsong, Vineyard Music Group was. No sexy videos or walls of sound, just a few instruments and a sincere voice praying ‘a simple song of love, to my Savior, to my Jesus…’
John failed to endear himself to touchy artists. ‘It isn’t about you’, he said to them. ‘It’s about Jesus and your job is to lead people to Him.’ I knew musicians who hated him for that.
I loved him for it. Because I remember the songs and I can summon them when blue or dull, when my restless spirit starts roaming. I catch the upward rising by ‘singing’ Him His due. Jesus saves me, over and over.
‘Son of God, this is our love song,
Jesus, my Lord, I sing to You.
Come now Spirit of God,
Breathe life into these words of love.
Angels join from above,
As we sing our love song.’
-John and Carol Wimber
“Thank You God for simple songs that bring Your Presence near. Thank You for John and Carol who helped ensure a purity of ‘worship’ through song. Uphold all those they invited to join the band and choir. Liberate our voices unto eternity. Come Holy Spirit, liberate what is true and beautiful from what debases us. May we not settle but aspire to the dignity of our sexual humanity. May we grow into ‘mature expressions of the gift’ by helping others do the same. Deployed to dignify, we ‘harness the John force.’”