16Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly; teach and admonish one another in all wisdom; and with gratitude in your hearts sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to God. 17And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
Shout to the Lord, all the earth
Let us sing. Power and majesty, praise to the King.
Mountains bow down and the seas will roar
At the sound of your name
I sing for joy at the work of your hands
Forever I'll love you, forever I'll stand
Nothing compares to the promise I have in
--from “Shout to the Lord”, lyrics by Darlene Zschech (Hillsongs Australia, 1993)
Thanks to a featured performance by the American Idol Top 8 this week on “Idol Gives Back”, this classic praise song has rocketed to #5 on iTunes. I have to admit that I was initially shocked to hear it on the show—it’s certainly not penetrated into the popular culture, nor is it from the country or gospel genres where references to faith are pretty much a given. I know it mostly from its being performed a few years ago by the 9:15 band, with Heather providing the outstanding lead vocals.
Interestingly, though, the version you can buy on iTunes differs from last Wednesday night’s performance in one significant aspect—on Wednesday the opening lines were altered from “My Jesus, My Savior” to “My Shepherd, My Savior.” What would Paul have thought of that? Whatever you do, in word or deed (and maybe especially in song!)—do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus. Paul knew, in his day (as it is in ours) that the name of Jesus is powerful. To some, it is the sweetest sound they’ve ever heard. To others, it is utterly offensive. Blessing or curse—and not much in between. I suppose that “Idol” played it safe so as not to offend those latter folks. But on Thursday night’s reprise of the song, it was back to “My Jesus”. Hmmmmm.
Finally, I am curious to know why this song was selected to be featured on Idol. It is a purely “spiritual song” that flows from a grateful heart in which the word of Christ not only dwells but—dare I say it?—burns. Was it a song from the hearts of all those who sang it? I have no idea—I hope so. Can it be the song of our hearts? It can be, if we choose to set our minds on things that are above. After all, nothing compares with the promise we have in Jesus.