7 July 2020

Friends, sing to Lord! “Praise his name; proclaim his salvation day after day… addressing one another in psalms, hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart.” But for now, don’t sing! Lest you send your droplets 4 metres through the air and onto someone’s face.

We live in strange times. Not least because as churches slowly resume gathering, we cannot sing!

Ever since God’s been rescuing His people, we have been known singers. But in observing government laws and out of love for one another, there’s no congregational singing for now. What have we lost?

Some of us love singing and miss it dearly. Others are indifferent towards singing and hardly miss it. I naturally fall somewhere in the middle. But I’ve found myself increasingly gravitating towards the former.

Previously I never paid much attention to song lyrics. [Insert drummer joke here.] I was reminded of this when my son recently started singing songs by the Aussie band Powderfinger. He’d been listening to my CDs from 20 years ago. And finally, I learnt the lyrics from him last month!

However, now as a Christian, I care very much about song words. Firstly, it’s because God has planted a new song of salvation in my heart (Psalm 96 above). So all believers are singers. In Psalm 96:2, to praise is to proclaim his salvation day after day. So all Christians are proclaimers. God has done massive heart surgery in his children, implanting a song of salvation such that out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks and sings.

Secondly, I also care about song words because I need to hear of the Lord Jesus and his gospel daily. Whether the preached word, or the sung word by the congregation, or a word of scriptural encouragement from a brother or sister, having God’s word shared resounding amongst us is to be filled with the Spirit in Ephesians 4:19 above.

That’s a big loss in not singing together. But not all is lost.

I’ve been singing all through lockdown. I’ve sung during the Livestream at home. And I’ve sung across online zoom meetings with FOCUS (the international university student ministry). Yes, it’s clunky. Yes, it’s lacking. Yes, we mute ourselves on zoom! But yes, it’s hugely encouraging. After hearing God’s word read, preached, and discussed, we sing together online. Zoom singing has been a highlight of my online interactions (a sentence I never thought I’d ever write.)

As a family, we continue to sing: Amazing Grace each night. My kids have often sung to me, words of eternal life which they’ve ingested thanks to God’s gift in Colin Buchanan.

So, whilst we rightly yearn to sing in the congregation (Ps 42:4-5; 43:4-5), let me encourage you to be filled by the Spirit addressing one another in song where possible: in the home, in bible study or even over a zoom meeting. Keep singing such that, “when we’ve been there ten thousand years, bright shining as the sun, we’ve no less days to sing God’s praise, than when we first begun”.

Warmly in Christ,
Jon Baird
11am Minister (Sundays)