Recently I have been thinking on this topic a lot: “Why do we sing in church?”
I spend a good chunk of my work week dedicated to planning Sunday morning gatherings, worship nights, Christmas and Easter services. Roughly 50% of our time together as a church is devoted to singing. Kevin Deyoung asks a great question, “Where in our culture do you find ordinary, untrained people gathering to sing?” Short answer, the church. Every week we gather together and sing our praises to God regardless of our inclination to singing. Why do we do this?
Revelation 4:11 - "You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being."
Revelation 19:1 - After this I heard a sound like the roar of a great multitude in heaven, shouting: "Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power belong to our God!
(David Santistevan, Beyond Sunday Worship)
Psalm 149:1 - Praise the LORD! Sing to the LORD a new song, his praise in the assembly of the godly!
Psalm 9:11 - Sing praises to the Lord, who sits enthroned in Zion! Tell among the peoples his deeds!
Colossians 3:16 - 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.
Ephesians 5:18-19 - And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart.
Gordon Fee said, "Show me your churches songs and I will tell you their theology." The lyrics of the songs we sing are incredibly important. Melodies are catchy and they stick in our head, lyrics put to songs are extremely important in regards to how we think about God and what we think about God.
A.W. Tozer said, “What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.”
(Bob Kauflin, Desiring God National Conference)
C.S. Lewis said, "I think we delight to praise what we enjoy, because the praise not merely expresses but completes the enjoyment."
For far too long the church has shunned people for showing emotion in worship services. God has made us emotional beings.
John Piper has said worship that does not exude emotion is no worship at all.
This is one of my favourite reasons we sing. Worshiping Jesus brings unity. We are all worshiping Jesus, one thing, the only thing that matters.
When we are all pursuing Jesus, singing our praises to him, we look around the room, seeing 600 other people worshiping it lifts us up and we see those who are mourning yet worshiping, those who are in a difficult season yet praising God, those who are celebrating the goodness of God and this in turn encourages us to do the same. It may even lift us out of the pit we are in.
When we take our eyes off of our situation and we turn to Jesus, things change.
A hymn that speaks to this is, “Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in his wonderful face, and the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of his glory and grace.”
The atmosphere shifts when we worship. I don’t know how many times I have worshiped because I have felt heavy or depressed or I don’t know what to do and the atmosphere completely shifts.
This one time, I was hanging out with a friend and I was leaving their house, I got in my car and started to feel depressed and low - this strange heavy feeling. I tried to shake it and nothing happened. I began to go to war. I took a worship CD and put it in my car stereo and began to sing. It was a Robyn Mark song called, “Garments of Praise”. Within a few minutes, the heaviness was gone!
Those of you who have ever been in a romantic relationship, have you ever told your significant other that you love them? It would be ludicrous if you never told the person that you loved them. In fact some of you may have wanted to even sing to your loved one you were into them so much! There are love songs being written all the time about boyfriends and girlfriends and husbands and wives.
Not only is it a way that we express our love and affection but our love and affection actually grows when we sing to God, as we declare who he is!
I am so excited about what God has for our church in this Easter season! Easter Sunday is going to be filled with excitement and celebration. I've put together a YouTube playlist of songs, we will be singing in the coming weeks as we celebrate Jesus' resurrection.