Lame

I used to lead worship for our church’s children regularly for about 8 years. During that time I found it necessary to ask kids if they knew what they were singing about.

I recall reading some humorous notes from school teachers where a class had been required to write out the pledge of allegiance (to the flag…).

From that, and through some of the college classes regarding music instruction to grade-schoolers, I understood that children don’t necessarily know what’s going on with the song so you have to ask some basic questions.

So we were singing “Peter and John” also known as “Silver and Gold Have I None”:

Peter and John went to pray
They met a lame man on the way
He asked for alms and held out his palms
and this is what Peter did say:

“Silver and gold have I none,
But such as I have give I thee.
In the name of Jesus Christ
of Nazereth rise up and walk.”

He went walking and leaping and praising God,
Walking and leaping and praising God,

“In the name of Jesus Christ
of Nazereth rise up and walk.”

Noticing the look of blank seven-year old faces in the crowd I stopped and asked some questions. I could understand the younger kids not understanding the content, but by seven I expect them to understand the gist of the song.

Me: “Does anyone know what lame means?”
only one boy held up his hand – he was about 7 or 8.
Boy: “Boring!”

(Insert snickering from the present teachers)

I know he only understood “lame” in today’s slang context … as in “That movie was lame.” But there is a hidden allegation that children’s worship is also “lame.”

One of the frustrations felt as a worship leader is that the children expected to be entertained. Their short attention span could only be held by a laser-light smoke-machine strobe-light pounding hard-core show … or at least some puppets.

Our overabundance of TV watching and video games are designed to under-sensitize children. If you laden their little brains with flashy videos and fast music then you can grab their attention more than your competitors… which means your sponsors are happy.

Those children from homes without much TV – or any TV tend to be more responsive to their environments and definitely hold longer attention spans … and who knows … they might even know, by looking at the social behavior of their peers, the real meaning of “lame.”

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