“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly; teach and admonish one another in all wisdom; and with gratitude in your hearts, sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him” (Colossians 3:16-17)
Music continues to play a pivotal role in the life of God’s people today. Contemporary culture and modern technology bring new possibilities to the music ministry of the church. In our daily lives, we are surrounded by music, whether it be through the radio, movies, while shopping in any store, or even video games. The role of music in just about everyone’s lives plays a big part throughout our day-day. It can lift us up and inspire, or bring us back down to Earth and mellow us out. With today’s diversity in styles of music, the church has shown openness to this greater variety of music by implementing many different instruments; the guitar, bass, keyboard, piano, synths, drums, etc. Such diversity is to be welcomed as it reflects the diversity and richness of God’s creation. However, with all of this diversity, I believe we tend to neglect a God given instrument that is one of the essential ministries of the church; the singing voice, and subsequently, congregational singing.
The Christian church sings. A personal belief of mine: There is nothing more honest than singing. Singing is the highest form of human expression and it must be shown in each service that we offer to God. Do not confuse my words; I am not speaking about our worship team that we have here on stage singing every Sunday, or the choir that sings anthems, but rather congregational singing. The role of the worship team and choir is to aid the whole people of God in their worship; congregational singing is essential. The congregation is the primary choir. While it is possible to be actively engaged in worship while listening to an anthem or solo song, a diet of worship which does not regularly include opportunity for congregational singing is impoverished worship. Now that we have established that congregational singing is essential, we now must remember who we sing to.
“Sing to the Lord a new song; Sing to the Lord, all the Earth.” (Psalm 96:1) Music is made first and foremost to the Lord and only secondarily to each other. The goal of music is to bring people to God’s presence; it should lead our thoughts toward God rather than toward ourselves like secular music often does. It should never be about us but God.
One of the reasons hymns have stood the test of time is because they combine melody and text beautifully together. To me, Christian songs that have a beautiful melody with minimal scripture don’t resonate with me as much because the text is not doctrinally sound; I remember the tune, not the words. With hymns, the music is written to be sung collectively and the content applies to everyone. The words do not express individual experience but rather objective truths or experiences that all Christians share. Let us pray that we never forget who we sing to: Our Lord God the Most High.
With all of this said, I encourage all who read this blog to sing out not just on Sundays, but every day, for every day is a day that the Lord has made, and we must rejoice and be glad in it! What better way to give thanks and worship than to sing?