I’m Gonna Sing When the Spirit Says SingJanuary 29, 2017
A little fellow was visiting his grandparent’s church. At the door the pastor asked him how he liked the service. With the brutal honesty of a four year old the kid answered: “I liked the music but the commercial was tooo long.”
The Christian faith is a singing faith. Historians have claimed that Martin Luther won more converts through his hymns than through his preaching.
There’s something about a fine old hymn
That can stir the heart of a man
That can reach to the goal of his inmost soul
As no mere preaching can
So we thank thee Lord for the fine old hymns
May we use them again and again
That we may save from a hopeless grave
The souls of our fellow men.
It’s an old poem and maybe a little hackneyed, but it has at its core the truth that St Augustine expressed, that when we sing, we pray twice.
My mother and father took me to church from the time I was an infant. And after I was old enough to graduate from the nursery, I sat through church services yes the whole thing, from the time I was three or four. So after several years I knew all the great hymns by heart
When I begain working as a parish associate at Pinnacle Presbyterian Church in Scottsdale in 2012 the custom was for the ministers to process with the choir. We would walk down the aisle of that magnificent sanctuary hymn books in hand, singing our hearts out. Except I usually didn’t carry a hymn book in because there was so much to do just before the service that I often forgot. My boss, the senior pastor, would remind me during staff meetings not to forget my hymn book. I protested I know most of the hymns heart. But, he replied it’s a good example to the congregation to encourage them to sing when we have our hymn books and a bad example when we don’t. So to appease him I would carry my hymn book not turning to the correct page, not ever glancing down, and singing what I had known since I was six years old.
- Hannahs Song I Samuel
- The Song of the Sea Exodus 15
- The Song of Moses Deut 32
- The Song of Deborah Judges 5
- David s Thanksgiving II Sam 22
- Hezekiah’s Song Isa 38
- Jonah’s Song Jonah 2
- Daniel s Praise Daniel 2
In the NT the gospel of Luke opens with is Mary’s song, the Magnificat, Zechariah’s song, called the Benedictus and Simeon’s song, called the Nunc Dimmitis. Probably the most famous hymn in the NT, and this will surprise you is Philippians 2–let this mind be among you that was in Christ Jesus.
And Jesus and his disciples concluded the Passover meal–the Last Supper– by singing a hymn and then going out to the Mt of Olives, where Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane.
People tell me they love the OLD hymns, like the Old Rugged Cross and I Come to the Garden alone. But they aren’t really old at all. The Old Rugged Cross was written in 1913. And I Come to the Garden also in 1913.
If you really love old hymns you should sing All Creatures of our God and King, written by St. Francis of Assisi in the 12th century, or a Mighty Fortress is our God, written by Martin Luther as the national anthem of the Reformation in 1527.
One last word. There have been more Christian hymns and songs written in the past quarter century than in all the years of Christendom before. If you’ve been in a church with bands and contemporary Christian music, you’ve sung some of them. There are a several I really like: “You are my King”: and two of Bill Gather’s songs “He Touched Me” and my favorite Christian song: “The King is Coming.”
Last week the choir put on the annual cantata.