Continuing with Gaither selections in my series Then Sings My Soul: The Hymns of My Youth, I’ve picked one of the simpler ones, though it is still very well-known. In looking up the words after many years, I realize why I didn’t remember the verses — the entire song is no longer than what I remembered. Recalling the criticism of the 80’s and early 90’s about “repetitive” worship songs, I wonder if the critics really considered some of what had been in their own repertoire. Of this song, Gloria Gaither writes:
Bill and I received a letter not long ago that said, I don’t understand your song ‘Let’s Just Praise the Lord.’ Why do you say ‘just’? That doesn’t make any sense to me–just praise the Lord.
That same week there was a letter from a young mother who had buried their nine-year-old daughter a few days before. She said, “Our daughter was with us at your concert a year ago, and we sang together as a family with you, ‘Let’s Just Praise the Lord.’ I didn’t fully realize then why you say ‘Just’, but I do now. Sometimes we just go on praising the Lord, when there’s nothing else to do.”
Of interest is the observation that so many hymns and spiritual songs don’t have any significant depth of meaning when they are void of certain contexts. But in these contexts — the original and many similar ones — the song or hymn takes on new depths of significance, of encouragement, of comfort, even of healing.
Let’s just praise the Lord
Let’s just praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord!
Let’s just lift our hearts to heaven
And praise the Lord!