On a recent Sunday, our church choir sang “Find Us Faithful” as the anthem in the traditional worship service. I have always liked this song that was written by Jon Mohr and popularized by Steve Green. In fact, we used it a number of times in state-wide meetings of the Tennessee Cooperative Baptist Fellowship during the time I served as coordinator, and it was often part of the worship services at national CBF meetings.
The words were particularly appropriate for the first generation of Fellowship Baptists:
Oh may all who come behind us find us faithful
May the fire of our devotion light their way
May the footprints that we leave
Lead them to believe
And the lives we live inspire them to obey
With lyrics inspired by the text of Hebrews 12, the song reminds us of the “great cloud of witnesses” that encourages us to be faithful to the legacy they bequeathed to us and to pass it on to succeeding generations.
This became something of a theme song for Fellowship Baptists. The song reminded us that we were building something that we hoped would inspire our children and grandchildren to embrace Baptist principles and serve in the name of Christ. In all honesty, we were also appealing to older generations to invest their considerable financial resources as well as their time and influence in this new movement!
Our music both defines and limits us. The “psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs” (Ephesians 5:19; Colossians 3:16) that we share give us vision but also reflect our experience. As our context changes, what was once inspiring may become stifling. Because of negative connotations, there are certain hymns that I loved in my youth that I can no longer sing because of their clear triumphalism or implied misogyny. I don’t condemn anyone who still loves those hymns, but I can no longer condone their lyrics and messages.
I wonder what the new generation of Fellowship Baptists will choose as a theme song. “Find Us Faithful” certainly does not have the same message for younger Baptists that it carried for my generation; in fact, they may feel that the words are rather limiting for them and the opportunities that they face.
I don’t know what the song is, but it is out there and we will hear it if we listen with the ears of the Spirit.