I grew up Presbyterian. The thing about being Presbyterian is that you learn how to sing in 4 part harmony. We sang both hymns AND psalms every Sunday, morning and evening. There is power and unity in the voices of God as they sing. This Sunday, we are going to do something VERY different for Emmanuel, but something that other traditions do every weekend…we are going to sing ac capella. That’s right. We are going to strip away all the instruments so we can hear the people of God sing. Colossians 3:16 says,
“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.”
But why would we do this? I think there are three reasons. They apply to all singing, but especially this weekend…
- Singing Helps us Teach and be Taught God’s Word. We are a teaching church. We use the phrase, “His Word, Our Walk”. The problem is that too many times, intentionally or not, we assume that means preaching and teaching the Word and applying it to our walk. The unique thing about singing is that we are doing both at the same time! We are teaching the Word of God to each other AS we live it out through singing. So singing is the perfect example of “His Word, Our Walk”!
- Singing Helps us Express and Engage our Emotions. Not only do we learn, we engage our emotions and express them to the rest of the congregation. It’s good to know the right things, but if we don’t engage our desires we will experience deep and lasting life change.
- Singing Helps us Show our Unity as a Church. Singing allows us to spend time all focusing on the same action and thought. Now, I know that not everyone loves every song we sing at Emmanuel. There might even be a song that you really don’t like, but we don’t just sing for ourselves. We sing for God’s glory. As worship pastor and author, Bob Kauflin writes,
“That means there might be times when our most sincere worship is singing a song we don’t prefer because we know someone else is helped by it. It’s one way we can let the peace of Christ rule in our hearts and count others more significant than ourselves (Phil 2:3)”
So this Sunday, we are going to sing with God’s people around the world and the hosts of heaven who are worshipping the Lamb who was slain. That is unity…even if we are singing songs we don’t like!
*The three main points in the blog are also from Bob Kauflin’s book, “True Worshipers”.