Psalm 96 Sing a new song
Singing has always been an element of Christian Worship.
Paul encouraged the Christians in Ephesus to commit themselves to worship together in this way. ‘Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, and making music to the Lord in your hearts. And give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. ‘ (Ephesians 5)
In our own age there has been an outpouring of new songs, some of them banal and repetitive, but many others joyful and God-honouring. The Wesleys, with their massive output of new songs, left us a great legacy, but even some of theirs were less than memorable.
Doubtless, you have your favourite songs, and those you find yourself humming at different moments. Why not select a ‘Song of the Week’ and make a point of singing it several times in the coming days?
v 2 Sing to the Lord; praise his name.
Each day proclaim the good news that he saves.
I’m not sure if it’s me getting more deaf, or is an increasing number of singers failing to get the words of songs across. I’ve been entertained (?) today by a workman next door singing songs that were culturally appropriate for him – he is of Caribbean extraction. It was kind of rap-melodic, but the words were totally lost on me. I found myself asking ‘Do the words matter at all, or is it only the rhythmic beat that is significant.
Do you find yourself remembering tunes or words – or if you are an amazing musician perhaps you manage to embed both in your memory. As for me, I am not a musician (I often regret being so un-gifted in that area) so it is generally words that stick with me. In fact, I feel the tunes are only an aid to remembering the words. (Some mathematics teachers I have met have taught the multiplication tables to music hoping it will help the numbers to stick!) The psalmist here encourages us to use songs to offer praise to the Lord – so the word-content of the songs is important. Over the years I have sometimes found myself looking at the words of a song and wondering about not just the sense but also whether they offer to God genuine praise. Some new songs may have easy and memorable tunes, but what we are saying to God, or about God, is the most significant feature of them.
Spend some time today thinking about the songs that most easily come to mind. Whether you hum them, or sing the words to yourself, what are you saying to God through them. Do they express heart-felt praise to God in a way that truly honours Him?