Worship songs don’t necessarily have to be songs sung on a Sunday morning. It doesn’t necessarily have to be the songs by Chris Tomlin, Phil Wickham, Bethel, Hillsong or any other artist that normally has church songs in circulation in every corner of the globe. It doesn’t necessarily have to be the songs everyone classifies as worship, even if you yourself identify more with pop/rock (or just rock) compared with the vertical praise melodies you often hear on millions of praise CD’s produced each year. Why? Because worship is a lifestyle, rather than a genre of music that producers, marketers and executives of the CCM industry make it out to be. Worship is laying down every part of ourselves as a living sacrifice before the Lord rather than a style of singing, or how we lift our hands to God every Sunday. Worship is how we live our lives as an act of serving to others rather than the correct words we use during song verses and choruses.
Matthew West’s “Hello My Name Is”, clearly not classified as a worship song; is a song I want to discuss this week for Worship Wednesdays. Because honestly, “Hello My Name Is” is a worship song, in that we are reminded of who we are in Christ, and thus, our worship is a result of the belief we have, of ourselves, others and of God. Whatever we place at the end of the sentence of “Hello, My Name Is…” is what we believe, about ourselves, and ultimately about God. If we reckon that we are nothing but a failure, we believe that we can never be anything more, and we believe that God in fact is not who He claims to be.
Yet what Matthew reminds us in the song is that we know who we are- children of the High King. We don’t have to feel guilty about our past or worry about the future. In the society we live in, there’s always something or someone telling us what we should and ought to be. We have ideal scenarios laid out before us, either by someone telling us or by us believing what we see in the media- that you’ll only be happy if you have this, or that, or move interstate, overseas, or whatever you want to place in the blank that says, you’ll only be happy if you have _____.
Worship is a mindset rather than a feeling. We can still worship even if we don’t have new car, or even if we’re still struggling financially. What we do and what we have doesn’t define whether we worship or not. It is because of what Christ has done for us that we can worship freely and without any inhibitions. Usually people strive to obtain whatever it is they feel like they are missing, and more often than not, they come to believe the outcome of their striving. Are they less than loved, less than appreciated, or even less than accepted if they don’t accomplish what they believe they need to? Everyone has a story, and everyone identifies themselves in relation to the story or time they are in. So when people seemingly feel like their striving isn’t amounting to what they want to achieve, they start to feel like the names that have been spoken over them, that they’re not good enough, and that they aren’t worthy of what they want to achieve, is who they really are instead.
I’ve learnt that it is during these times where things don’t turn out the way we hope that we can still hold onto the promises that our names are really ‘child of the one true king’ instead of what we may be feeling at that singular point in time. Worship can be tricky when we’re in the middle of a valley, but I guarantee you- that Christ’s love and acceptance travels beyond our feelings and circumstances, and even if we may not feel like worshipping, we’ll still know that our worship, however miniscule or small it could be in comparison to the good times, will bear fruit and bear witness to a God who brings beauty from whatever situation we find ourselves in the midst of.
What what we’ve done or haven’t done, the status we try so desperately to earn, the failures we face and the trials we triumph over, none of these things identify us. Rather, who we are is heirs to the throne and kingdom of Heaven, brothers and sisters in Christ; unconditionally loved. Who we are is not defined by how well we strive for the opportunities that are in front of us, or even how much we love others. Who we are is simple- that while we were still sinners, Christ died so that we could live.
I know this sounds like a message Mondays post, and yes, maybe I could’ve combined this post to say “Message Mondays and Worship Wednesdays”. But nevertheless, let us be reminded that CCM songs can still be worshipful, and worship can still be expressed during difficult times. A song that ministers to us and brings us into a heart of worship ought to be classified as worship (which, to different people, can in effect be every single song within the Christian music catalogue that ever was and is).
The live video of “Hello My Name Is” is shown below, and is a testament that whatever stronghold and label that has been shackled upon us can be unbound with the perfect love of Christ that casts out everything that is not of Him. Check out the video, and share in the comments on how ‘Hello My Name Is’ has helped you in knowing that our identity is in Christ Jesus our Lord.