Sunday, March 30, 2008

Happy All the Time?

Amber came home from church today singing:
I'm inright, outright, upright, downright happy all the time.
I’m inright, outright, upright, downright happy all the time.
Since Jesus Christ came in and saved my life from sin.
I’m inright, outright, upright, downright happy all the time.

It's a catchy tune, and I vividly remember it from my childhood Sunday School days. But there's something wrong with the theology in the song.

How about this old hymn:
At the cross, at the cross, where I first saw the light
And the burdens of my heart rolled away
It was there by faith I received my sight
And now I am happy all the day.

Okay, I'm not sure which Bible those songwriters were reading, but it's not the one I have in my home, and it's not the Word we studied today in church. In Community, the little church I attend, we concluded our in-depth study of the book of Colossians this morning. Paul was writing this letter from prison (where he probably wasn't inright, outright, upright, downright happy all the time.) He talks about suffering, laboring, struggling and dying to self. He ends with "Remember my chains." (that doesn't sound like he was happy all the day, now does it?)

Don't get me wrong, there is no better place to be than where you can say that Jesus Christ came in and saved my life from sin, but being a Christian is not all fun and games. When my brother died, I was not happy. I was, however, filled with unexplainable peace and comfort beyond measure. Still, I was not happy. Would I exchange this sometimes painful life in Christ for a life of ease? No way! Is there joy along the way, also? Yes, there is much joy! But I also won't go around singing about being happy all the time. Now if I could just get my daughter to sing a different tune, because I know she is NOT happy all the time!


Kari said...

Okay... now I have the tune stuck in my head too :)

Rebecca said...

I'm glad a lot of churches seem to be phasing these kinds of not-so-theologically-correct songs out of the repertoire. But it was a fun one!

Nobody said...

Paul may have been writing from jail where one would assume he was not happy all the time, but he also wrote in 2nd Corinthians 12:10
"..for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties..."

but you are probably right, we can't be happy when bad stuff happens, God probably isn't big enough for that.
yes, we are human, and for that reason we forget to take joy in suffering, we forget that even in the bad times, Christ is our constant source of peace AND joy, not just sometimes along the way. Do we always remember this and turn to him for joy? no. But that doesn't mean that a harmless children's song about being happy all the time because Jesus Christ saved our lives from sin is theologically incorrect...I wouldn't freak out over it...

Christine H. said...

Dear Nobody,

Thanks for your comment. But I wasn't "freaking out" over the song; I was just writing a blog post. And I still do think the song is theologically incorrect. We can not be happy all the time, and the Bible never makes that claim. One more thing: your comment about God not being big enough for us to help us be happy when bad stuff happens, well, that just isn't true, either. God is big enough to help us do anything. He just knows better than to give us everything we think we need. But that's another blog post altogether! Thanks again for commenting.