The unicorn song is when out of nowhere, from the shadows of the stage at church you start to hear the first few notes of a song they never play. At a traditional church, you realize that someone has finally learned how to play Chris Tomlin’s “How Great is Our God” on the organ. And although at first it sounds a little like a raccoon has broken into the organ, you don’t care. Something newish and fresh is happening and you are so excited. Your church has now entered the year 2003 and you are proud and happy and singing as loud as you can in celebration of this moment.
If you go to a contemporary church, the unicorn song is when you notice in the bulletin that one of the numbers you’ll be singing today is a hymn. With a suspicious feeling you look down and read, “How Great Thou Art” and try not to get too excited. “Is that really the hymn version or has a pop/punk/acoustic/funk duo rewritten that song and I’m about to hear the contemporary version?” But then it starts, and it’s the old fashioned version and for just a second, despite the goatees, despite the lasers and the mocha lattes sitting next to you, you’re back in your old church, the one you grew up in and you’re a kid again, for at least one song.
The unicorn song is fleeting though. For as soon as it ends, the spell that transfixed your worship leader is broken. He/she launches right back into the kind of music you always sing and for a few more months, the unicorn fades into the background.