For the past 3 years I’ve had the joy and privilege of being at a church that loves to sing. True, that church had an inordinate amount of musically gifted members, but I don’t think it explained why the church on any given Sunday was filled with exuberant, loud, joyful, clapping-accompanied, arms-raised, dancing, shouts, and singing. It was wonderful.
But not every church I’ve attended has been this way. In fact, of the 6 churches I’ve attended regularly in the past 25 years, I think only 2, this past one included, poured out the joy of their salvation into song. Now, having moved away from that city and church, I sometimes miss their uncommon excitement on Sunday mornings and I’ve come to appreciate all the more their love to sing because I know that for them, it isn’t just a love for music or their own voices. No, for them, they get to sing to their Creator and Redeemer God who saved them from their sins. They understand that the command to sing unto the Lord is for God’s glory and for their good, and oh, how good it is.
This simple act of obedience follows the example of our Savior, the apostles, centuries of Christians before us, millions of people that worshipped our God before that. Our desire to fill our churches with congregational singing must overcome our tiredness on early mornings, our apathy after a long work week, our fear of man’s opinion, our laziness from years of repeated behaviour, our pride in musical preferences, our sin! – and must flow from a delight in our Savior. Whatever the reason that stops me from singing, or that induces a half-hearted, mouthing along with the words, it falls short when compared to the reasons TO sing as a church, and I have to remind my forgetful self of these truths frequently and fervently.
To sing as a church:
- Singing is delightful to our God and gives Him glory! God desires our singing, and singing to the Lord is first and foremost an act of worship. Scripture has never required vocal training, musical background, or that we sound “good”! (Psalm 98)
- Follows in our Savior’s example (Mark 14:26) the apostles’ example, and allows us to add our voices to thousands of years of Christians around the world that join together in song, giving praises to the Lord.
- Allows me to die to self and obey the most common exhortation in Scripture, “to sing”!
- Proclaims the truths of the gospel to one another. We are given a clear command to sing with understanding, teaching one another with spiritual songs and hymns. (Col 3:16)
- Proclaims the truths of Scripture to the world. The songs we sing might well be sermons, spouting the gospel and the truths of Scripture. We show the world that we are united in this as a church body, when we sing it together.
- Puts Scripture on my tongue, and helps me to memorize it. In these earthly bodies, we are prone to forgetfulness – forgetting often the character and works of our good God. Songs help us to remember what we ought to never forget.
- It is good for our souls to practice singing, for it is certain that we will be singing God’s praises for all of eternity in heaven.
Let our prayers be that our good and gracious God would “tune our hearts to sing Thy grace” every day.