Even though I am a died in the wool hippie for music from the late 60’s to mid 70’s, Crowded House is the band of the mid 80’s to 90’s that just tears me up. There is something so vulnerable about Neil Finn’s voice. Seriously, this band makes me weepy sometimes.
So you can imagine how thrilled I am that when I suggested to Rachael that she and the band do a version of “Don’t Dream It’s Over” during communion sometime, she said “Sure, how about Oct. 30th?”
One thing you need to know about Rachael, though, is that she very thoughtfully curates the lyrics to any of our songs. It’s often been said that heresy (false teaching) is sung in the church long before it’s preached. In other words, if we like the tune and melody, we tend not to care as much about the lyrics as we would if someone just spoke them.
That does not mean, however, that every song that is good to use in a worship service needs to have God’s name mentioned constantly. The Apostle Paul says, “Speak to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord.” Ephesians 5:19
He is not being redundant referring to “psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs”. They represent different kinds or genre of song; that is they serve different purposes. The Psalms are songs taken right from the scripture. Hymns are songs we create to tell our story or tell God’s story and usually, how those two are connected. Spiritual songs refer more to repetitive phrases like “Hallelujah” that are less about extensive lyrical content but are simple songs and phrases that bring us into a meditative space with God.
“Don’t Dream It’s Over”? For me, it has hymn-like quality because it tells a story during difficult times that call us both to be comforted and challenged. Have you ever thought of the chorus in this way as it reappears through the song?
“Hey now, hey now” – This sounds like words of comfort, like patting someone’s back and saying, “there, there, it’s going to be okay.” “Don’t dream it’s over”- To me, this sounds like Jesus’ assurance that “I will never leave or forsake you.”
But there are times within the song that the lyrics feel less like words of comfort and more like a call to action. “Hey now, hey now” – DON’T fall asleep during your own life! Come on, wake up! “Don’t dream it’s over” –Life is hard but be vigilant, don’t give up. To love well throughout your life will take everything you’ve got! “When the world comes, they come, they come, to build a wall between us. But we know they won’t win.”
Hey now, hey now, don’t dream it’s over.