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Doctrine in dialogue format
Deliver my soul, O LORD, from lying lips, and from a deceitful tongue
In today's episode we find our two fine fellows returning from a day in church. Listen:
"Not at all Mr Popinjay, although I do appreciate your concern. You found me to be unusually quiet then did you? How so if I may be so bold as to inquire?"
"I could not help but note Mr Peacock that you did not partake in the songfest as did I and all those in attendance. It appeared all the world to me that you were more interested in the pages of the song book than you were the taking part in the praise service. Is my observation amiss? Or have I expressed what is so?"
"I must confess Mr Popinjay that you did indeed perceive me in a correct light. I was most absorbed in the words all were singing with such exuberance."
"You then found something in the words of the songs that struck your fancy I take it Mr Peacock? What may I ask captured your attention to such a rapt degree that it prevented you from joining in the festivities?"
"Did you not see the words you were singing with much jubilation Mr Popinjay? Were you not aware of that which you were speaking to God above?"
"Speaking to God my good man? You have me in befuddlement. I was merely lending my voice to the others in the establishment. How, dare I ask, could my contribution be perceived as speaking to God?"
"Did you not notice the title of the book from which you were singing Mr Popinjay? Did the designation for the time allotted for cantillation slip by your normally astute observation?"
"I'm afraid it did Mr Peacock, much to my chagrin. Enlighten me as to my error if you please."
"I would be most happy to do just that Mr Popinjay. I can well understand how through the exuberance of the moment you might have made such an oversight. And by the way Mr Popinjay, might I add that you have an exceptional voice, if I do say so."
"Why thank you Mr Peacock. I would be pleased to return the compliment had I but heard you sing, which of course you did not do so seeing you were engrossed with the text of the books from which we sang rather than participating in song."
"In spite of the fact that I received no compliment from you Mr Popinjay, I offer my appreciation for your willingness to endow me with such a praise. And as to your question, the book from which you read, and the notice in the bulletin, indicated that the songs to be sung were songs of worship. Worship, Mr Popinjay to my knowledge, is intended for the ears of God. Does my assumption align with yours my dear sir?"
"Having given the matter thought Mr Peacock, I must give a nod to your assumption. You have set me on a proper course of understanding. I was indeed singing words of worship. I then take it that, even though unbeknownst to me, I was indeed speaking my words to God. Thus acknowledged Mr Peacock, I must inquire with this question: what of it sir? Do you perceive harm in so doing?"
"Oddly enough believe I do Mr Popinjay. I must add a proviso in that the singing itself I see of no particular consequence. However the words thus sung I myself could not abide with, nor can I perceive how but perhaps a very few in attendance could speak the words in earnest."
"You again have me in befuddlement Mr Peacock. Words are words I always say. What is it in the words we sang you find at fault?"
"A very good question Mr Popinjay, and I am most happy you asked. Let me begin with the first of the canticles to be sung, Amazing Grace. In and amongst the many words spoken to God is the phrase 'to save a wretch like me.' My dear sir, do you in all sincerity consider yourself a wretch?"
"I dare say I do not Mr Peacock. You have indeed made a viable point. But again I inquire, what of it?"
"Let me present yet another such example if I may. One offered song centered around the concept of, with words thereto following, the promise to surrender all to Jesus. In all sincerity my dear sir, do you understand what such a phrase means? Or better still, barring the comprehension of the words, do they in fact express your earnest posture and intent?"
"Again I must confess to being negligent Mr Peacock. But I reiterate, it is but a song and not a pledge the which we are indulging. Is that not so Mr Peacock?"
"So it would seem Mr Popinjay. I can only express my held view of the moment. I myself, if the truth be known, do not so much as know the Man to whom such a pledge is offered. I of course am aware of some facts about Him, having heard the sermon. However beyond this I have had no particular relationship with Him as I have with you. Considering this fact, I find it difficult, even in innocent vocalization, to express words I do not in fact believe. It is merely my own perception I present dear sir and not a judgement call. Allow me if you will to present yet another example of what I am observing. Perhaps it will shed a tad of light on the subject at hand. You participated in a song that includes the words 'Just a Closer Walk With Thee,' adding words to the effect 'That's All I Want'. Do these words express your true feelings Mr Popinjay?"
"I dare say they do not Mr Peacock. The words do allude to a status I possess little understand of. However we must keep in mind sir, these are merely words of a song. In song one must not be too judgmental of the words one sings. To do so would deprive the song of its character. Is this not so Mr Peacock?"
"I dare say it is Mr Popinjay. However, I must add that I, although not the most sincere fellow by my own admission, take great stock in my integrity. I like to think my words represent my honest feelings. I hope you know I'm not casting my personal sentiment on to others. I am merely expressing my own view of the matter."
"I concede your right to do so Mr Peacock. It is no more than I should expect considering it is I who inquired into your attitude on the matter. Am I to take it then sir that you consider the singing of words that do not truly and completely conform to your convictions to be in the realm of a lie? That would indeed be a stringent attitude to adopt."
"It is indeed, as you say Mr Popinjay, a rather stringent attitude. But nonetheless, it is the one I choose to adopt. So you see Mr Popinjay, I find it outside the realm of personal acceptance for me to join you and our fellow Christians in the weekly songfest. I do hope you understand."
21Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof. (Prov 18:)
3For there they that carried us away captive required of us a song; and they that wasted us required of us mirth, saying, Sing us one of the songs of Zion. 4How shall we sing the LORD'S song in a strange land? (Babylon (Psalm 137:)
2Deliver my soul, O LORD, from lying lips, and from a deceitful tongue. 3What shall be given unto thee? or what shall be done unto thee, thou false tongue? Psalm 120:)
7Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, 8This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. 9But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. (Mat 15:)
13Wherefore the Lord said, 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, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men: 14Therefore, behold, I will proceed to do a marvellous work among this people, even a marvellous work and a wonder: for the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent men shall be hid. (Isaiah 29:)
36But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. 37For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned. (Mat 12:)
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