I'm not a great singer but maybe it's the Welsh in me that means I love to sing and to sing loudly. But more than just everyday singing, congregational singing is great. For months now, due to the risk of virus transmission, we haven’t been able to sing and it’s been hard.
I’m sure we all miss singing together as a church. We can be thankful that we’ve been allowed to meet and have a band sing for us, but a part of us longs to worship in song all together again. I’ve been doing some thinking about why congregational singing is so good, and intrinsic to who we are as God’s people.
When we sing together, we get to be defiant. We get to shout and sing the promises of God, as his people, in the midst of a world that has rejected Him. Have you ever thought how amazing it is that we sang God’s praises, loud and clear, in a lecture theatre that for the rest of the week didn’t acknowledge God?
It’s right that we miss it. I miss singing with you, not because of how lovely it sounds but because sometimes I need to hear my brothers and sisters declaring the promises of God when I struggle to believe them. When I’m struggling to praise Him, we can sing as a body and hear how good our God is sung out by others.
This quote summaries what I’ve thinking about singing. “Christian worship is an act of defiance. It is the daring assertion, in the midst of a lost, divided, unbelieving and disordered world, that, despite appearances to the contrary, evil has been defeated and forfeited its dream of conquest. Sin does not have the last word, nor will death… Christ has conquered.” - Bruce Milne (Dyanmic Diversity, 2007)
We might not be able to sing together for many more months and it is hard. For a moment it’s good to acknowledge that and know that we’re missing out on a good thing that God has given us. Psalms 92 and 149 have helped me recently and reminded me that we’re called to sing praises to him.
It is good to praise the Lord
and make music to your name, O Most High,
proclaiming your love in the morning
and your faithfulness at night.
- Psalm 92:1-2
Here are a few things I’ve found helpful as we seek to defiantly sing the promises of God, in the midst of a world that has rejected Him.
1) Walk or run to worship music – on daily walks or maybe your commute, listen to worship music. Try to do this alone, no scrolling or reading alongside listening! It can be hard but have a go at just listening to God’s goodness sung to you. As a place to start here’s a list of songs we regularly sing on a Sunday.
2) Send a friend a song or ask them to send one to you – sometimes it’s hard to lift our eyes to God amidst a hectic shift, homeschooling, or day to day life. Sending music to each other or to our Focus Groups gives us an opportunity to remind each other of God’s promises. It might be the one message we need to receive on a hard day when we’re struggling to pray or give thanks.
3) Sing loud when you can – when I’m home by myself I’ll often turn on some worship music and sing along for a while. Although we miss the voices singing alongside us it helps our hearts to sing God’s praises, why not try to come along to the Zoom after church and rejoice as we watch our brothers and sisters sing?