REFLECTIONS: A Blast From The Past

Published 6:00 am Saturday, May 11, 2024

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Our pianist played a beautiful offertory arrangement a few weeks ago, as she always does. I found myself singing along in my heart with the familiar melody. On a lark, when I came to the pulpit for the message I asked with a show of hands how many people recognized that song.

About half the congregation did.

I suppose it was only us “children of the 70s” who remembered “He’s Everything To Me” by Ralph Carmichael, originally written for a Billy Graham film entitled, “For Pete’s Sake.”

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“Til by faith I met him face to face

And I felt the wonder of his grace… .”

Just as Chief Jesse Stone certified his “copliness” with donuts, we certified our “youthliness” with this song!

And Carmichael and Kurt Kaiser gave us “Pass It On” in 1968.

I remembered one of the weeks I was the leader for chapel at Judson College. I asked our choral director to teach “Pass It On” to our students. They’d never heard it but they loved it. Karen and I laughed later about our “blast from the past” that made a hit in the 2000s!

I also remembered a youth rally one weekend at First Baptist Church in Graysville, Ala. Lloyd Jones, music minister and youth choir leader, took what seemed like 10 minutes to

“set up” the song the youth choir was to sing. He told us it was “pop” but had a great message, and how we needed to support young people in their spiritual journey, and so forth.

The song they sang was “Put Your Hand in The Hand.”

Anne Murray first recorded this song (and later the band, “Ocean”). Writer Gene MacLellan also wrote Murray’s pop hit, “Snowbird” — the first song I remember her singing.

In retrospect, “Put Your Hand in The Hand” now seems so tame. But it was lively and Mr. Jones was concerned about audience response. As I recall, no adults left the building.

Today’s music is so different.

I heard on a podcast lately that the intersection of organs and drums in American churches is now at 42%. That is, 42% of churches have organs (keyboardists are hard to find, as are organ repair techs) and 42% of congregations have drums. Thus, organs are declining and drums are rising.

Yesterday’s churches were kind to kids. They tolerated our guitars, our bell-bottomed jeans and our constant “rededications.”

The churches of the 70s may be exemplary for modern churches.

Sometimes we senior saints need to stop being so grumpy, take a deep breath and say, “It may not be ‘my cup of tea,’ but God bless you kids. We’re glad you’re here, and we love you.” 

“Reflections” is a weekly faith column written by Michael J. Brooks, pastor of the Siluria Baptist Church, Alabaster, Alabama. The church’s website is