While styles and methods have changed and evolved in several ways over the last 2000 years, one immovable truth remains: the church of Jesus Christ has always been a singing people. Paul exhorted the churches in Ephesus and Colossae to sing songs when they gathered together. He tells the Colossians:
Let the message about the Messiah dwell richly among you, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, and singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, with gratitude in your hearts to God.
Colossians 3:16 HCSB
Music is an incredible gift. It helps us to express our gratitude and praise to God in many profound ways. There are so many good worship songs that the Lord has used over the years to minister to me and to speak truth into my life. I love songs that are based in Scripture but also help me connect with the presence of Jesus by the Holy Spirit. I think Paul understood this, and he exhorts the church to sing, not just to the Lord, but to one another as well. Even if you aren’t a big fan of music in general, the call of God to His people is that we would join together on a regular basis in singing praises to Him.
I think of the electricity in the air during a World Series game or during the Super Bowl. Folks in the crowd are anticipating that their team is going to win. They root and cheer and express their loyalty to the team in some pretty crazy ways. If their team is victorious, the post game celebration is overwhelming. Some people break down and cry. Others yell and shout for joy. Now, I'm not going to suggest we paint the letters J-E-S-U-S on our stomachs or that we start rooting and hollering uncontrollably during our church services. I've never been a huge fan of worship experiences that are designed to provoke an emotional response through manipulation. Nevertheless, our God is worthy to be praised. Someday, every Super Bowl victory will be a small footnote in the history of mankind. But Jesus will reign forever and ever.
I love to sing while I am home doing the dishes or when I am driving around in my car. My kids probably get tired of listening to dad sing in the car sometimes, but that’s the price they have to pay for treating me like their personal chauffeur. Some of the best times of worship in my life have taken place in solitude. But I believe there is something even more powerful that happens when the people of God gather together to sing praises to the Lord. We are exhorting and comforting one another, and also showing our unity in love for our Savior. What an incredible witness it is to the world around us when we pour out praise and the fruit of our lips to honor and glorify the name of Jesus. The unbelieving world does not know what to do with this when they see it happening.
Over the next few days, I will be posting a few more thoughts on singing in the church. Please stay tuned!