Ever catch yourself humming or whistling a long-forgotten song? Happened to me this morning as I was driving to work. The song that popped unexpectedly into my mind from my youth was that old favorite, “Does Your Chewing Gum Loose It’s Flavor On The Bedpost Over Night?” Never heard it? Oh, it was a silly song, no profound message, but it had a good rollicking beat, and it was fun to sing … and the memory made me smile.
And that’s the point. As Auerbach said, “Music washes away from the soul the dust of every-day life.” No matter whatever thoughts or cares were on my mind, getting caught up in that old song brought me back – for the moment at least – to being a care-free teenager.
Are there not some hymns you find difficult to sing because of the memories they awaken? It may have been the favorite spiritual song of a loved one now deceased, or perhaps it was sung by a beloved congregation as you were preparing to leave and move away. Music has an almost unmatched power to stir feelings and emotions.
Therefore, music is a natural avenue for the expression of worship and praise. When Paul spoke of Gentiles glorifying God for His mercy, he cited David’s statement in Psa.18:49, “Therefore I will give praise to You among the Gentiles, and I will sing to Your name” (Rom.15:9). Furthermore, by quoting Psa.22:22, Christ is represented as being in the midst of His church, “My brethren,” in public worship saying, “I will sing Your praises” (Heb.2:12).
Quite properly we cite Eph.5:19 and Col.3:16 as evidence for singing or vocal music in worship; both speak only of “singing,” and the melody is to be made with the heart. Instruments, therefore, are added only by the authority of man, and in doing so, cut individuals off from the One they profess to worship (II Jhn.9).
However, don’t overlook the fact that both Scriptures stress not only “singing,” but what God intends to be accomplished when we sing. Since God’s design is for, “all things to be done to edification” (I Cor.14:26), our singing shares that objective. As we sing, we speak to one another (Eph.5:19), with the intent of teaching and admonishing (Col.3;16). Sing therefore in praise of our God, and in doing so encourage your brethren and share a growing anticipation for the glory to come. Let this be the music that pops into our minds during the day, keeping alight the joy of salvation. – by Ed McGeachy