Trouble with Sunday school songs

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Ben has a problem with Sunday school songs. No wonder. If you start to think about some of them, you would too. 

Deep and wide; deep and wide

There’s a fountain flowing deep and wide

Deep and wide; deep and wide

There’s a fountain flowing deep and wide

What? Where? What is this? That’s the whole song. There’s a pretty big fountain at the local shopping mall. Maybe that’s it. There are probably fountains all over the world that flow deep and wide. What’s so special about this one? I sang this all the time growing up, but no-one ever told me what the fountain was. Now some adults might be thinking about the fountain filled with blood that was drawn from Christ’s veins so that sinners can plunge beneath that flood and lose all their guilty stains. But a nine-year-old is not going to get that. Even Ben.

And Ben definitely has it in for “Jacob’s Ladder.” We’re supposed to be climbing Jacob’s ladder and then it says we are “soldiers of the cross.” What? Soldiers climbing a ladder that doesn’t exist? 

But when he gets to “Jesus Loves me,” Ben sings that one, because it’s true. And yet we find out later that he doesn’t sing all the words right. No one noticed it the first time because they were all so mesmerized by his voice. But on the last line instead of “Yes, Jesus loves me / The Bible tells me so,” Ben sings, “But I will tell me so.” 

Ben believes it for everybody, but he can’t yet believe it for himself. “He died for everybody. But I’m not everybody. I’m Ben Beamering. I get lost being a tiny part of everybody.” So Ben’s not going to be singing the original words because they are not true for him personally. “I’m not going to say anything I don’t mean, especially with God standing around listening.” (One of my favorite “Ben” lines.) 

Do you know anybody like that — someone who won’t say something if they don’t mean it? Our good friend Pam Mark Hall comes to mind. She’s refused to say or do certain things if she wasn’t in full possession of it’s belief or meaning. You have to admire that. So many of us just rattle off a lot of “Christianese” without even thinking about it. My wife catches me at this often. That’s because I grew up with all this talk, and she didn’t. 

We can learn something from Ben here. Don’t say something if you don’t mean it. Don’t sing something if you don’t believe it. Jesus said to let our “yes” be “yes,” and our “no” be “no,” and leave it at that. We’ll get a lot farther that way if we walk in truth, even if the truth is doubt or unbelief. At least then we know where we are at and we can claim the process and walk together.

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3 Responses to Trouble with Sunday school songs

  1. Toni Petrella says:

    The power of positive thinking and saying what is positive is evident here. I know I need to work on that and no matter what sound positive even if I have a doubt mostly in myself. Thanks for this special message.

  2. Toni Petrella says:

    Let’s try again.

  3. Toni Petrella says:

    Third time a charm.

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