Hymns & Songs

Using a song in a service meaningfully

Mar 2010    

Open the Eyes of My Heart

Open the eyes of my heart Lord,
Open the eyes of my heart,
I want to see You. I want to see You. (2x)

To see You high and lifted up,
Shining in the light of Your glory.
Pour out Your power and love,
As we sing holy, holy, holy.

Holy, holy holy. Holy, holy, holy.
Holy, holy, holy, I want to see You. (2x)

© 1997, Paul Baloche.
Administered by Integrity’s Hosanna’s Music.

LISTED AS THE MOST SUNG praise and worship song on the CCLI (Christian Copyright Licensing International) chart in Singapore, this song by Paul Baloche came about from a little prayer that he heard from his pastor-teacher, Dr Bruce L. Morgan (1930-2002), each time before the teaching session.

Morgan would say, “O Lord, as we look into your words tonight, we ask you to open the eyes of our heart. Help us to understand and comprehend your mysteries. In Jesus’ name, Amen.” at meaningful phrase by Morgan, “Open our hearts, Lord” led Baloche to create a little music-driven prayer motif for his church community which over a period of time grew into a song that also contained a reference to Isaiah 6:1-8.1

This song seems rather innocuous even as it urges those who sing it to desire the holy presence of God in their lives, to see God. Yet when we view the textual sequence of this song, it is quite evident that there is a little theological problem with the line “Pour out Your power and love, as we sing holy, holy, holy.”

Has one ever wondered if the pouring of God’s power and love ought to be the reason for our singing “Holy, Holy, Holy”? Should our worship response hinge on what God can or is going to do for us? Will such a conditional clause inevitably lead us to make God our vending machine in answering our prayers and petitions? What do you think?

Aside from this little theological challenge, I thought it might be helpful for us to consider where we might use this song within a worship service. Too often, praise and worship songs are compartmentalised. ey are typically put together and placed into a segment of just singing. When that is done, we then proceed to other aspects of worship such as taking an offering or preaching. I think such a “cookie cutter” approach fails to understand the efficacy of the songs. So for a change, I thought it might be helpful that we consider where a song – whether a hymn or a praise and worship song – can be used in a worship service meaningfully.

So, if we are sensitive to the function of song within worship, and having known the background of this song,we look into the theological content of this text “Open the Eyes of My Heart.” In this approach, this song can be placed in two places within the worship service. First, just prior to the reading of God’s word or preaching. is location would resonate nicely with the background that Baloche spoke about in the creation of this song. It could culminate in a prayer offered using the exact words of the song before reading the scripture or the start of preaching.

Two, this song can also be placed within the celebration of the Lord’s Supper where the ritualisation of the Lord’s presence in the midst of God’s people is much more evident. In this way, this simple song is transformed into a piece of service music that accentuates the significance of the Holy Communion where the Holy One can be seen similar to the reference of Isaiah 6:1-8 that Baloche spoke about as he developed the song.

Liturgically speaking, it is not too far fetched to think that praise and worship songs can also be used as service music for the Holy Communion. For example, the liturgical response of the congregation that is often read rather than sung in our churches:

Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord, God of power and
might, heaven and earth are full of your glory.
Hosanna in the highest.
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the
Lord. Hosanna in the Highest.

 

This response can easily be substituted by the “B section” of
this song by Paul Baloche,
To see You high and lifted up,
Shining in the light of Your glory.
Pour out Your power and love,
As we sing holy, holy, holy.

Holy, holy holy. Holy, holy, holy.
Holy, holy, holy, I want to see You. (2x)

This is just an example. Naturally there are new settings of the liturgical text if this text is sacrosanct to your congregation. My point is that the liturgy of the Holy Communion need not just be an event that seems strange and alienating.

Careful and thoughtful use of appropriate songs as service music can breathe a sense of relevance and meaning of this important worship act to a new generation within the household of faith. By Lim Swee Hong

1  For detailed information of how the song was created, see ttp://www.youtube. com/watch?v=XqE7_SQcbX8, http://uk.video.yahoo.com/watch/1575078, and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gA9Tg2CK6ZA accessed Jan 10, 2010.

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