by Tom Kraeuter
Nashville, TN (TR) Reacting to what they say is a lack of enthusiasm and passion for singing them, the Union of All Worship Songs (UAWS) today announced that they are officially on strike. In an unprecedented show of unanimity, songs written as recently as two months ago banded together with songs penned hundreds of years earlier as they walked out side by side.
A UAWS spokesperson said, “We’re tired of it. We were written by people who genuinely loved God and wanted to express that love through song. If you read our words you can sense the original fervor. There was a passion for the Creator/Redeemer that comes through so clearly through the words and even the music. But today so many people just mouth the words. They go through the motions while yawning or looking at their watch, wondering when the service is going to end. It’s really been demoralizing for us. We had such a great beginning… and now this.”
The strike was declared effective immediately, and Christians worldwide were stunned when the songs walked out of churches, homes and media outlets. In some cases the strike came just moments before a Wednesday night service began.
“I’ve never seen anything like it,” said William Oudle, worship pastor at First Baptist Church in Elba, Mississippi. “We were just settling in, ready to start the music when all of a sudden, all the songs got up and walked out. We were stunned! Next thing we know they’re all marching out there in front of the church carrying little picket signs.”
In some places the songs linked together, stave to stave, daring people—and a few renegade songs—to cross their lines. Radio stations that play “praise and worship” music were suddenly silent. Even video projection systems in churches were abruptly and unexpectedly without lyrics.
One of the strikers, who asked to remain anonymous, said, “I know I speak for a lot of other songs when I say that we’re just plain tired of it. If those people want to sing with no fervor, no zeal, let them sing some secular songs… but not us. Why, they usually sing “Happy Birthday” with more gusto than they usually sing us. It’s simply not right, and we’re not taking it anymore.”
The old hymn, “Holy, Holy, Holy,” was one of the original organizers of the walkout. When asked about the strike, HHH had this to say, “This remindeth me of the words of the prophet Isaiah. ‘Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me…’ This be our contention. We requesteth a turnabout to wholehearted singing. We canst not bear the feeble, desultory attitude. As psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, our main purpose is to inspire the brethren to reverently worship Almighty God. Yet we canst not do that except if the brethren willingly cooperate. If their minds are focused solely on what eating establishment they will patronize when the church service endeth, then we canst not make up for their indifference no matter how well we be written.”
Standing right alongside HHH was “Here I Am to Worship,” one of the other strike organizers. “That’s right. My friend H, here, has stated it, like, really well,” said HIAtW. “We just can’t do the job we were created for unless Christians do the job they were created for: to worship God.”
Reaction in some circles has been immediate. Although a few have suggested that the Church as a whole is better off without the songs, many people have gone to their knees in repentance. This outcry to God has been less for the songs to return than for a genuine change of heart and mind for the pray-ers. Some of the most frequently heard prayers have been right from the Scriptures, including, “Search me, O God, and know my heart… Point out anything in me that offends You…” and “Restore to me the joy of Your salvation.” Christians seem to be catching the point of the strike and responding favorably.
In the midst of such reaction, one song, “Change My Heart, O God,” received special permission to cross the picket lines and make himself available in multiple languages.
In an official communiqué, the UAWS said, “This initial response seems to be on the right track, but we’ll see if it lasts. We are guardedly optimistic at this point.” The songs have promised to remain on strike as long as necessary.
© 2010 Training Resources. Reprinted by permission of Training Resources, Inc., 65 Shepherd’s Way, Hillsboro, MO 63050, www.training-resources.org