Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The Practices of the Christian Faith: Singing

If you know me very well, you know how important music is to me and my family. There is music in the car, in the office, at home. We go to concerts, play records, cds, mp3s, cassettes and even the occasional 8-track tape. We play games that involve music; games like “Name That Tune,” and “Don’t Forget the Lyrics.” We have even made up trivia games and singing games.

In church music is also important. We sing hymns every Sunday. We also have choruses, anthems, special music and praise and worship songs. The longest book in the Bible is a “hymnbook”- Psalms. There are even hymns written into the text of the New Testament. In our own United Methodist tradition, Charles Wesley, brother of John, was known for the hundreds of hymns that he wrote.

So why do we do it? Why do we sing?

  • There is the obvious answer, we sing because the Bible tells us to (Psalm 96.1, Colossians 3.16 among others). Our singing is an act of obedience to God.
  • We sing because it engages our spirits, our emotions in our relationship with God. There is something that is released in us, something beyond the intellect that takes place when we open our mouths with song.
  • We sing because it allows us access into the communal aspects of the Christian faith. It is a time that we all can join our hearts and our voices in praise and worship.
  • We sing because it allows us rhythmic expression to our faith. There is the potential for dance when we sing.

Before we finish today, let me encourage you to sing. Sing a lot. Make singing a part of your everyday Christian experience. Spend some time each day in reading the Bible, in prayer and in singing. You may need to find a quiet time and place to do this. If you are self-conscious about your singing, then sing while you are alone. But, and this is an important but, you will be blessed, inspired and encouraged when you sing.