New Song: 1,000 Tongues

What would you do on the anniversary of your conversion to Jesus?  Pray, read the bible or take a selfie?

Charles Wesley wrote a poem.

The poem had…17 verses!

If I wrote a song lyric that was 17 verses, I don’t think anyone would stick around to hear it!  But Charles was passionate about salvation and wanted believers to sing about it.  The song was called “O For a Thousand Tongues to Sing”.  This weekend, we are learning a song inspired by that poem…and it only has two verses!

But I think we need to ask, “Why was Wesley so passionate about singing about salvation?”  Why should Christians sing to God at all?  In the book of the bible dedicated to worship songs, we read

Oh sing to the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord, all the earth. Sing to the Lord, bless his name; tell of his salvation from day to day. (Psalm 96:1–2)

Did you know that the Bible has over four hundred references to singing?  Not only that, there are fifty direct commands to sing!  “But what about the New Testament?” you ask!  Well, we’re commanded twice to sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to one another in our worship services. (Ephesians 5:19; Colossians 3:16).  As worship leader and author, Bob Kauflin writes,
…If you’re forgiven and reconciled to God, then you have a song. It’s a song of the redeemed, of those who have been rescued from the righteous wrath of God through the cross of Jesus Christ and are now called his friends…and our singing together, every voice contributing, is one way we express that truth.
Our new song starts out celebrating the singing church which comes together to proclaim the name of Jesus.  As Zechariah 14:9 say,

The Lord will be king over the whole earth. On that day there will be one Lord, and his name the only name.

We are a sea of voices,
We are an ocean of your praise.
Gathered under one name.
We are a tide that’s rising,
And we cannot be contained.
Gathered under one name.

And then we hit the revamped chorus in which the author takes every other line from the original hymn.  Compare them here…

Lyric comparison.001Verse 2 continues with the theme of our song.  Just like Wesley’s original poem, this is a chance for all of us to “tell of his salvation from day to day”…

We have found our anthem,
At the cross where sin was slain.
Gathered under one name.
Where every chain is broken,
Every sorrow swept away.
Gathered under one name.

This second verse also borrows from Wesley’s lyric.  The original was, “He breaks the power of cancelled sin, He sets the prisoner free”.  In the new one, we sing, “At the cross where sin was slain…where every chain is broken…”

Ironically, Wesley started with a doxology or praise to God sung “By saints below and saints above, the Church in earth and heaven”, but our new song saves it for the bridge.  Both borrow from Deuteronomy 4:39

Acknowledge and take to heart this day that the Lord is God in heaven above and on the earth below. There is no other.

With all heaven sing,
And all earth below.
One holy King,
One highest throne.

New song or old.  Our God is the same yesterday, today and forever.  And we are commanded to sing with all our 1,000 tongues!


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