TO HELP US REMAIN ANCHORED IN SCRIPTURE WHEN IT COMES TO THE DIFFERENT COMPONENTS OF THE CORPORATE WORSHIP ON SUNDAY MORNING, THIS SERIES OF ARTICLES WILL EXPLORE EACH OF THE PARTS MAKING UP AN ORDER OF SERVICE ON ANY GIVEN SUNDAY.
Read past blog posts in this series here:
The Gift of Music
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. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. - Colossians 3:16-17
Part 3 of our series on public worship here at GCC addressed the mandate to read Scripture publicly as part of what we do as the church when we gather together. It seems appropriate given the text above to turn our attention to music here in part 4. If the Word of God is to dwell in us richly we must be exposed to it. This happens in many different ways including the preaching and teaching of the word and all the many classes and gatherings that make Scripture central to a given ministry. In the public worship service Scripture is read multiple ways including single reader, corporate responsive and even memory recitation. We also sing scripture both to God in the recounting of His person and works and to each other to admonish and as a reminder of God as the object of our worship. Singing as worship is as old as creation itself. As God brought the physical creation into existence out of nothing Job 38:7 tells us the angels called “morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy...”.
Moses and all of Israel would often sing of God’s deliverance and provision. Ex. 15:1; Numbers 21:17ff. In Psalm 106 the Psalmist describes a very important connection between Scripture and music. After deliverance from the Egyptians Israel “believed his words; they sang his praise.” - Psalm 106:12.
Often important events were recounted and remembered through corporate singing. After the return from the Babylonian exile and the foundations of the 2nd Temple were laid we read in Ezra 3 how God’s people “sang responsively, praising and giving thanks to the LORD...” Then it gives us something very important, the content of their song. "For he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever toward Israel." Ezra 3:11. It is interesting that our very salvation in Christ is described in terms of being a New Song. And this song is evangelistic. “He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. Many will see and fear, and put their trust in the LORD.” Psalm 40:3.
With such a history and example we should not take lightly the gift and place of music in worship. Because of this reality much prayer and planning happens here at GCC before a single note is sounded on a Sunday morning. This prayer and planning should happen with all of us. That’s one reason we now focus each month on a single song or hymn. We can corporately prepare for worship in a manner that enhances Unity to Maturity in Christ and gives us continuity between public and private worship.
And this, by God’s grace, will continue until we, in the very presence of the Lamb together sing that “new song, saying, ‘Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth.’” Revelation 5:9-10.