When I was growing up, I sang in church because that’s what we did in church.
Please turn in your hymnal to page 325, and let’s sing the first, second, and fourth stanzas.
(That’s how the Baptists did it back then.)
But several years ago God put it on my heart to go to Africa for two weeks to teach the Bible, and I was terrified. That Sunday night I went to church, and all of a sudden the music was different. No, my need for the music was different. I found myself saying, Crud! I’m scared out of my skin to go to Africa, God. The music meant something new to me that night.
When I brought my overwhelming fear of going to Africa to the music at church, I started really listening to the words and testing my belief of their theology. Is this true –what I am singing about God? Can I board a plane, leaving my husband and little kids to go to an unstable country full of disease, and trust that these words will hold true on that journey?
For the first time in my entire life, I sang with desperation.
Bob Kauflin, in The Power of Words and the Wonder of God, poses this question:
“If the teaching in our church was limited to the songs that we sing, how well taught would we be? How well would we know God?”
Music is theology set to a tune.
Africa wasn’t the end of the difficult things God would ask me to do –it was only the beginning. Now, on a regular basis, I find that, to match the 6’ 7” strides of the Spirit, I have to sing with more fervor.
Can you picture Paul and Silas –severely flogged, thrown into an inner prison cell, and feet in stocks? “About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God…” (Acts 16:25 NIV) Reaching with their voices –grabbing musical theology as a comfort to each other.
What song does your soul need the most right now?