The Bible calls us again and again to offer our musical praise. How often do you simply sing to the Lord?
“Sing to the Lord a new song,” begins Psalm 96. I’ve always been drawn to these lines, which seem jam-packed with meaning. Consider just those two word “new song.” They are not just an invitation to refresh our worship with new material. (!) They also point to the creative, ever-changing nature of musical worship. No two musical performances are exactly the same. Different tempos and melodic phrasing, different colours, dynamics and harmonies — each time I play a familiar piece it changes. Similarly, when I improvise a piece of music on the piano or organ, each extemporization is a fresh musical expression.
“…sing to the Lord, all the earth” the psalm continues. All the earth = everyone. There’s no distinction between “beginner” and “advanced” musicians, between “amateurs” and “professionals.” The Bible is full of such invitations and instances:
- The Old Testament prophet Isaiah invites all the people of earth and of every age to lift up their hearts and voices in song (Isaiah 42:10).
- After the Jewish people have safely crossed through the Red Sea, Miriam takes a tambourine in her hand and begins to sing (Exodus 15:20-21).
- When the angel Gabriel tells Mary she has been chosen to bear the Christ-child, she sings from her soul (Luke 1:46-55).
- In his letters, the apostle Paul exhorts his followers to praise the Lord with music and lift each other up in song (Colossians 3:16; 1 Corinthians 14:15; Ephesians 5:19).
Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise. James 5:13
In what ways does music enable you to connect with God? Is singing a part of your own spiritual path? Christian history is rich with different styles and varieties of song, a treasure amassed by the faithful before us. If you hear something that strikes a chord in you, learn it so that you can offer it from your heart when you’re moved. Sing lustily on Sundays; the musical leadership and words on the screen are there to help you along. There’s also our choir and youth choir.
There’s a saying, “Who sings, prays twice” — just imagine how much more spiritually fulfilled we’d be if we truly surrendered ourselves to sacred song!
Your brother in Christ,
Trying to remember a certain hymn or song? Try here: