Why do we learn new songs? Why don’t we just sing our familiar favourites?
Why don’t we wear the same clothes we did in the 70s? Because fashions change. There’s nothing wrong with 70s clothes, they looked great back then. They’re still fun to wear to parties and trivia nights. But styles change and what fits well in one era looks odd in another. The same applies to music.
Why don’t we preach the same sermons we did in the 80s? Because our situation changes. We face new challenges and have new opportunities. We use new images and illustrations in our teaching. All these things apply to our singing too.
Because all our songs are new. Unless you are singing Psalm 45 to the tune of Lilies in ancient Hebrew, you are singing a new song. And even Psalm 45 was once new. So all our old favourites were once new tunes that nobody knew. Perhaps some of the new songs we learn this month will be our old favourites of the future.
Because we want God to be working in our lives now. Many people are attached to the tunes they associate with times of great growth for them. Perhaps when they were converted, or when they had young families and were growing. But not everyone has these emotional associations. A particular tune might have been very meaningful to you back then, and still reminds you of that wonderful time, but to others it’s just another old song.
Because we want to be learning new things about God. There are always new things to learn, or old things to rediscover. Different circumstances force us to consider different aspects of God’s character – both in teaching and in music.
Because it helps the musicians stay fresh. They play songs many times more then we sing them. They need to be challenged in their musical skills.
But perhaps the best reason is in the Psalms themselves…
“Sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done marvellous things;” Ps 98:1