From the beginning of the church, singing has been an integral part of corporate worship. The first hymns are as old as the early books of the Bible. Here are just five of the many reasons we should all sing passionately as the church this Sunday:
1) We are commanded to sing! We are called to sing; indeed, the Scriptures command us – more than 250 times – that we are to sing. It’s hardly one of those “controversial” issues that are hard to ascertain precisely what scripture is saying. It’s not a choice; it’s not dependent on “feeling like it;” it’s not our prerogative.
Throughout Biblical history, in every place and circumstance; in victory, in defeat; in celebrations and festivals; in death and mourning; singing was second nature for people of faith. Indeed, the largest book of the Bible is itself a songbook, exploring the range of human experience and interaction with God through singing.
2) Singing together completes our joy. Celebrating with each other is as natural as breathing. At your kid’s soccer game or when we watch football or March Madness, it’s not enough for our team to win, we want to revel in the moment and share it with other people. C. S. Lewis believed singing completes our faith, explaining in his book Reflections on the Psalms, “I think we delight to praise what we enjoy because the praise does not merely express but completes the enjoyment; it is appointed consumption.”
3) Singing is an expression of brotherhood and unites generations. Singing together is a picture here on earth of the hope of heaven where every tribe, tongue, and nation will sing to God. Throughout history, God’s people have both discovered and affirmed their solidarity in times of celebration and in times of tragedy through singing.
4) We are what we sing. Singing affects how we pray, think, feel; it influences our memory banks and even the deepest parts of our subconscious. If the songs we sing to ourselves and to each other are just about the moment, detached from Scripture and lacking in history or perspective, we’ve little to keep us moored to Truth. But, when we are intentional about singing and about the songs we sing, we build up a testimony that will travel with us through life.
As you worship God today – as overworked dads, stressed out mums, grandparents struggling with health and young people looking for wealth – each of us can, with integrity and with relief, go with repentance and thanksgiving to the One who has created us, forgiven us and lives within us. How can we not sing?
Keith Getty (edited and adapted by Mark Johnson)