“We can mention only one point (which experience confirms), namely, that next to the Word of God, music deserves the highest praise. No greater commendation than this can be found — at least not by us. After all, the gift of language combined with the gift of song was only given to man to let him know that he should praise God with both word and music, namely, by proclaiming [the Word of God] through music.” Martin Luther
I am really excited to dive into this book with all of you, both in person and online. This topic of 'singing' is a passion of mine not only because I'm a 'music guy', but because I believe it is important to Christian worship. As I'm reading through this book again, one of the questions that continues to pop out at me is "how did the congregation sing?" (Sing! p.xx) I think this question is SO critical when it comes to worship for several reasons, many of which the Gettys talk about in their book and we will get a chance to ponder and discuss. But ultimately the reason I think this question is important is because singing can and should play a huge role in our spiritual development. Singing can give us an appropriate expression when we are joyful and excited:
Praise to the Lord, the Almighty, the King of creation!
O my soul, praise him, for he is your health and salvation!
Come, all who hear; now to his temple draw near,
join me in glad adoration.
("Lobe den Herren", Joachim Neander)
and be a comfort when we are sad or hurting:
No storm can shake my inmost calm
while to that Rock I’m clinging.
Since Christ is Lord of heaven and earth,
how can I keep from singing?
("My Life Flows in in Endless Song", Robert Lowry)
Singing can also take people from different walks of life and various cultures and backgrounds, and unite them in prayer and praise:
All people that on earth do dwell,
sing to the LORD with cheerful voice.
Serve him with joy, his praises tell,
come now before him and rejoice!
("All people that on earth", William Keeth)
The Gettys are right on when they write "congregational singing is one of the greatest and most beautiful tools we have been given to declare God's 'excellencies', strengthening His Church and sharing His glory with the world" (Sing!, p.xxi). When you think of it that way, it is obvious that an important question after any worship service is "how did our congregation sing?"
As we explore this topic of singing, we will have an opportunity to reflect on our own person experience, Trinity's worship services, as well as 'singing' in our society today. We will try this blog format for our 'online discussion'. You can see the week by week below for what we will be reading and discussing. I will try to post some thoughts by the Friday of every week, including some of the Wednesday discussion so that if you missed a rehearsal you can still feel part of the discussion. I would love it for people to comment, add their thoughts and respond to each other's as well. Feel free to share this with whomever. Singing is a discussion that should be ongoing and I'm excited for where this book will take us. Thank you for all you do in your ministry....you are a blessing to Trinity!