In his book, Life Lessons, Don Reid (lead singer of the Statler Brothers) tells of the late Steve Allen once making a bet with the singer Frankie Laine that he could sit at a piano in a record store window and write fifty songs a day for one week. Of the 350 songs he wrote one became a top-twenty hit in 1950. The song, “Let’s Go to Church Next Sunday Morning,” was recorded by Margaret Whiting and Jimmy Wakely. You can listen to it on YouTube. Reid said, “It was actually a love song set against the scene of going to church together, a theme and title that would never get recorded in today’s music industry.”
Here are the lyrics of the song:
Let’s go to church next Sunday morning, let’s kneel and pray side by side.
Our love will grow on Sunday morning, if we have the Lord as our guide. Through the week we love and laugh and labor,
But on Sunday don’t forget to love thy neighbor.
Let’s make a date for Sunday morning, and we’ll go to church, you and I.
Let’s go to church next Sunday morning, we’ll see our friends on the way.
We’ll stand and sing on Sunday morning, and I’ll hold your hand while we pray.
Through the years we’ll always be together.
You’ll be mine and we won’t fear the stormy weather.
Let’s go to church next Sunday morning, let’s go through life side by side.
I will not try to analyze the song scripturally. That is not my purpose here. I do appreciate the application Don Reid makes of the part that says, “if we have the Lord as our guide.” He wrote, “‘If we have the Lord as our guide,’ is the key line to this song for me, because I have found that if we walk into church on a Sunday morning with a bad attitude toward something or someone and come out with that same attitude, then a number of things have not happened.
We have not listened to the sermon.
We have not listened to the prayers.
We have not listened to the words of the hymns.
But here’s a number of things that have happened:
We have just put in time being there.
We have let our minds wander.
We have closed our hearts to everything around us.”
And I cannot argue with Reid’s insightful conclusion: “If we ever come away from a worship service and can’t remember one good thing about the sermon or what was prayed for or what we sang, then we should look to ourselves for the answer. It is likely our own fault, because it is nearly impossible to not glean something helpful from an hour of worship and praise.”
When we assemble with the saints we are there to hear what God says (Acts 10:33). We are there to offer “the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving things to his name” (Heb. 13:15). In our singing we are “teaching and admonishing one another” when we lift up our collective voices to God (Col. 3:16). And, yes, if we can walk away from all that and not allow the Lord to remake and remold us by his Word, something is sadly wrong.