Monday, June 23, 2008

lower case worship

another question i received lately...

why are many of the lyrics we use in worship lower case letters? for example, the pronoun "I" is lower case. is this some sort of contemporary appeal to young people?

while it might appeal to younger people, that's not the reason the lyrics are lower case. lately, the first words in each line of lyrics are lowercase for a very different reason. this technique has been used in modern poetry (but avoided in traditional poetry), so it's not new. also, the pronoun "I" has radically been transformed to lowercase.

using lower case for everything, except for God's pronouns and names causes worshipers to reflect on God's true proper place in worship when it comes to the orthography of words we sing or recite. have you ever cringed when the pronoun "I" is capitalized, yet when sometimes we refer to God using a pronoun, "he" does not begin with an uppercase? let's question the place God has in all areas of our lives - not just in english literature and poetry.

i completely understand this isn't proper use of english for traditional form. however, there are a few times where even the rules of english are broken for a good purpose; for example, see pulitzer winner jorie graham's poetry. i hope you can view the time of worship through sung lyric as one of these special times to simply give God His place, circumventing language rules we've learned through the years.


  1. Hey Bryan,
    Thanks for the insight and your thoughts on this matter. I appreciate your commitment to glorifying God and edifying fellow worshipers. You cause me to think more critically and openly about matters pertaining to worship...

  2. Anonymous11:19 AM

    I noticed the lower case during worship and recognized it's meaning immediatly!! I have and do cringe when people do not capitalize God or He when referring to God...I don't want to judge anyone for not using it properly, but I find myself thinking that they are just not that "in" to God if they don't.
    Thank you so much for pointing out that He is the only One that matters!