Tehillah

I think it’s pronounced “Tay-hill-law”

It’s one of the 7 Hebrew words for praise – it means to create a spontaneous new song.

We introduced a new tune to the church two weeks ago called “Because of Your Love” by Paul Baloche. It starts off with a rather energetic vocal part, which is exciting in structure and harmony – the syllable sung is “Yeah” or “Hey.” I think it’s cool.

I was trying to paint a new picture for the choir to think about as they sing “yeah” for the opening of this song – and I’ve got a good friend that REALLY doesn’t like the “yeah” part of the song – so maybe he’ll read this and it’ll change his mind.

I was out in Austin late in July for the “National Worship Leader Conference.” Very, very good conference. Speakers and worship leaders from all over the country (and England) to share new songs, new ideas, encouragement, etc. One of the biggest benefits/takeaways for me is the exposure to new songs, and hearing them in live worship environments. So often I can listen to a tune on a disc and discard it as being “congregational” until i hear that same song in a corporate worship environment. “God of this city” would be a great example.

Anyway – I was one of MAYBE 5 Presbyterians at the conference – out of 3000 (I took two guys from my teams and joined two friends from Perimeter). It’s a very inter-denominational conference, which I like – as the picture of God’s worship is so much larger than we can even imagine. There’s this thing that happens during the worship times – not all the time, but often at these conferences. Paul Baloche, or Kathryn Scott, or Matt Redman would stop in the middle of a song and park on a chord – maybe slowly strum a G – and the congregation would start creating new songs. I, being the good Presbyterian that I am 🙂 would close my eyes, bow my head, and LISTEN to the new songs being created. It is SO cool. What an experience. It is Tehillah. These worship leaders are creating new songs – and the best part is it all falls into harmony with the G chord being strummed, annd sound incredible.

My point – As we sing “yeah,” if all we’re doing is looking at the screen and seeing the word “yeah” and thinking – “that’s lame,” then I would agree. BUT – what if “yeah” represented a new song in our heart. Maybe not one that we’re ready to bust out and share – but one that pulls out our secret song and gives us yet another vehicle of praise. Maybe, just MAYBE – God will start to move us to share those songs. Maybe He’s opening our hearts to a broader picture of worship – freeing us, teaching us, calling us . . .

SO – next time it’s just “yeah” or “hey” or whatever – don’t LET it be just “yeah” or “hey” or whatever. Make it Tehillah.

By the way – Tehillah is one of over 50 words in Hebrew for worship that have been boiled down into about 7 English words . . . Something lost in translation.

Comments 1

  1. Thank you for guiding and teaching us as the Father calls us forward in our worship experience. The ipod was on shuffle yesterday, and I heard Breathe with a group that was doing something like what you described in choir and in the blog – it was beautiful. Something I had never actually heard in worship – but imagined we would do in heaven one day. I look forward to the day that we get to freely worship without a thought towards what others think. Maybe – just maybe.

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