Simon's got steamed up in his blog about the worship song "Indescribable" by Chris Tomlin. I know what he's getting at, but I mostly disagree. Why?But first a diversion. I've always found a particular type of passage in Revelation has always excited and touched me - for example:

And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living beings. And they fell face down before the throne and worshipped God. They said 'Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honour and power and strength belong to our God forever and forever. Amen!' (Rev 7.11-12)

I learnt a new song at Spring Harvest 2006: "Creation's King" by Graham Kendrick. (Which was recorded for the 'One God' live worship album that year.) I loved it straight away, because it had a catchy tune, and it quoted a variant of this passage."Indescribable" takes this same type of passage, with a slight twist:

Indescribable, uncontainable ... all powerful, untamable; awestruck, we fall to your knees as we humbly proclaim ... incomparable, unchangeable ...

So at least most of the chorus is Biblical, which is a Good Thing. It also has a catchy tune. And I like the poetry of

You placed the stars in the sky, and You know them by name ... / Who imagined the sun and gives source to its light / Yet concelas it to bring us the coolness of night?

There's not enough good poetry around in modern worship songs, but far too many tired rhymes. And this is a great summary of how God treats us:

You see the depths of my heart and You love me the same.

At the same time, I'd prefer to change a couple of the lines. It works better when sung in context that it looks like on the page, but "You are amazing, God" feels slightly vacuous, and I'd prefer "You are amazing, Lord". Simon might still feel this is crass, but it is a simple statement of worship, which is what it's all about. The bigger problem is with "Who has told every lightning bolt where it should go ...", which whilst poetically showing the power of God, just makes me think of the tens of people each year who die when hit by a thunderbolt - did God really aim them specifically at them? Unlikely. I'd prefer "Who could tell every lightning bolt where it should go ...".

AuthorJonathan Clark