Singing to One Another, Again!
Excited by the resumption of congregational singing in our corporate worship services, Pastor Eugene encourages us to minister to one another in song.
Once, when a friend of mine encountered trials in his life, he said to me, “When I went through those tough times, I remembered the hymns I used to sing. God used those songs to remind me of his truth, which brought me through my darkest moments.”
God’s people are a singing people. This is a key characteristic of believers throughout the Bible. Singing is the audible overflow of hearts gripped by God’s redeeming grace. In Exodus 15, for instance, Moses and the people of Israel sing to the Lord, praising Him for saving them from Egypt’s pursuing army: “I will sing to the LORD, for he has triumphed gloriously; the horse and his rider he has thrown into the sea. The LORD is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation; this is my God, and I will praise him, my father’s God, and I will exalt him.” (vv 1-2)
In Scripture, singing is theology set to music and lyrics. An entire book of the Bible—in fact, the longest book in the canon—is devoted to the songs of God’s people. The Psalms express a whole range of human affections and emotions, from joyful praise and thanksgiving to heart-breaking lament. Singing occupies a vital place in believers’ lives, because it gives voice to our faith as we experience the ups and downs of life.
For this reason, the past year has been especially challenging for many of us. Due to the pandemic, we have not been able to sing when we gather for corporate worship. Therefore, I am very excited that congregational singing can resume at our services this weekend. Thanks to the easing of restrictions, we can again sing (while keeping our face masks on) when we gather for corporate worship. Praise and thank God!
In singing together, we not only sing to God, but we also sing to one another. This is why singing on our own at home is no substitute for congregational singing. So, before we gather this weekend, let’s prepare to sing to one another by reflecting on 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.”
First, note the context of Paul’s exhortation. Just a few verses before, he urges believers to relate to one another with compassion, kindness, humility, patience, mercy and love. This is because we belong to one body in Christ, since we are “God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved” (v 12). Sin, including “anger, wrath, malice, slander and obscene talk” (v 8), threatens to undermine our unity.
To guard and grow our unity in the gospel, we are to “let the word of Christ dwell in us richly” (v 16a). As fellow believers, we all share the responsibility to build others up by speaking the truth in love to one another. A way of doing this is by “singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs” (v 16b). Paul exhorts us to sing God’s truth to one another. Congregational singing is designed to encourage, strengthen, comfort and assure. By lending our voices to music and lyrics, we are singing gospel truths into one another’s hearts. Matt Merker, author of Corporate Worship: How the Church Gathers as God’s People, writes: “Remember, each week we gather as wounded people to have our spiritual sores treated by the Great Physician. In his mercy, he uses our songs to apply his sweet balm.” So, sing with conviction, because our spiritual health depends on it!
Thus, as we sing to God, we are also singing for one another’s spiritual benefit. Congregational singing is God-ward, as well as other-person-centred. It’s a part of how we love and serve one another. So, come and sing—not just because it gives us personal pleasure to do so, but because it glorifies God and builds Christ’s body, the church!
This weekend, we’ll be hearing from Luke 24:13-35 about how Jesus is the resurrected Christ, who died and rose from the dead as promised in the Scriptures. As we gather as a family of faith, may God help us to trust and obey our risen Lord.
Our quarterly congregational meeting will take place at 2pm this Sunday (Apr 11). This is an opportunity for English congregation members to come together and welcome the new members who have recently joined us. The elders will also be sharing updates on care groups, staff, leadership, and the upcoming sermon series. The meeting will be conducted via Zoom at this link: http://gracebaptistchurch.sg/gbcmeets
The Church Matters membership class happens next Saturday (Apr 17) from 9am to 1pm. Do attend if you are considering membership at GBC. This class focuses on what we believe as a church, and how we do life together as a church community. Sign up here: http://gracebaptistchurch.sg/church-matters
Our newcomers’ welcome meeting will also take place next weekend: 11am, Sunday (Apr 18). If you are new to GBC and would like to get better connected, do join this in-person gathering. Register at: http://gracebaptistchurch.sg/gbcwelcomes