Where does Your Song Come From?
“Sing to the LORD a new song; sing to the LORD, all the earth.” Psalm 96:1
By Dan Grassi, Worship Pastor
Thelma and I have two wonderful daughters—Madeline age 11, and Ruth age 9. Both are very creative, active girls with great imaginations. They are also quite good singers. For example, we typically don’t listen to the radio or CDs in the car. Instead, our girls “accompany” our ride by singing at the top of their lungs! Most of the time, they choose a favorite church song or make up some silly song they think up in the moment. It can drive us crazy, and does often, but we love to hear them sing.
Last week, their singing game became serious. Madeline and Ruth were having a musical “argument” in the back seat on our way to church. Madeline started a song she thought she knew. When she got stuck and couldn’t remember the tune or words, Ruth jumped in for the finish! They argued all the way to church on who was right, and who would be the first one to sing the song all the way through with no mistakes! It was comical and typical of our girls.
I kept thinking of one of my favorite classic Christian authors, and pastor, Dietrich Bonheoffer. His book, Life Together, explains the priority of Christian worship in the fellowship of God’s people. In it, he says this of worship:
“Sing and make melody in your heart to the Lord (Eph. 5:19). The new song is sung first in the heart. Otherwise, it cannot be sung at all. The heart sings because it is overflowing with Christ. That is why all singing in the church is a spiritual performance. Surrender to the Word, incorporation in the community, great humility, and much discipline—these are the prerequisites of all singing together.”
Then Bonheoffer gives us his final (and my favorite) thought…
“Where the heart is not singing there is no melody, there is only the dreadful medley of human self-praise. Where the singing is not to the Lord, it is singing to the honor of the self or the music, and the new song becomes a song to idols.”
His words remind us that our “hearts sing the song first,” then our voices join second. Madeline and Ruth, in child-like desire, wanted to be the “first” one to sing their song into the world. I smile when I think about it. This is exactly the way our Father has designed us, His children, to behave in worship in His house. Our heart must first jump to the chance to sing the melody true, and then our music may stem from our instruments or our throats in praise.
The Power of Truth:
“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.” Col. 3:16
“The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to him in song.” Psalm 28:7
Suggestion for Prayer:
Is your heart overflowing with Christ? Sing your praises to Him. Let your rejoicing be your prayer!