Once I walked into a church just before the start of the Sunday morning service and sat down. This was not my own church. I was visiting. It was quite a small building, traditional in practice, with the pipe organ quietly playing in the background. Quite soothing, soporific even.
It was a few minutes before I realised that the tune being played quietly was Sinatra’s My Way . It’s a song of someone looking back on life with self-congratulation, proud of his self-sufficiency in the face of adversity. Here are some lines:
Yes, there were times, I’m sure you knew
When I bit off more than I could chew.
But through it all, when there was doubt,
I ate it up and spit it out.
I faced it all and I stood tall;
And did it my way.
I’ve loved, I’ve laughed and cried.
I’ve had my fill; my share of losing.
And now, as tears subside,
I find it all so amusing.
To think I did all that;
And may I say – not in a shy way,
No, oh no not me,
I did it my way.
It will be no surprise then that I was horrified. In the midst of the assembly, where Christ is proclaimed, where all thought of self-sufficiency must be mortified in the face of Christ’s death, here was what seemed like the ultimate hymn of praise to Man being played for all to hear!
All this is a bit of a preamble to mentioning this article (thanks Harry). It seems, as if we did not suspect it, that secular songs are increasingly popular in funeral services. And look what’s at number two in the UK: My Way by Frank Sinatra! Increasingly it seems that the more secularised we become, the more we display our arrogance and self-congratulation as we rush into the presence of our holy Creator.