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COLOSSIANS 3:16 (ESV)
“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.”
If someone were to ask you, “What do you do at church on Sunday mornings?” a quick response might be, “We gather for worship.” That is an accurate answer, but your friend may be left wondering what exactly you mean by ‘worship.’
As you know, worship is a posture of the heart, not an event to attend. When Christians gather for a worship service, we are focusing our hearts to express that Jesus is supremely treasured above everything else. Out of this posture, we give our tithes and offerings, pray, and study His written Word. And, of course, we sing.
Singing provides us with the unique ability to express adoration for Jesus beyond words. It involves our mind and the deepest parts of our being. Singing with other Christians also provides us with the unique experience of hearing many voices come together with the anticipation of the joyful celebration of Jesus’ eternal reign which awaits us someday. In this way, singing together is a small ‘foretaste of Heaven.’
Yet, the act of singing together has become counter-cultural. In how many other settings do you find people singing songs for a prolonged period of time? Not many. Corporate worship through multi-voiced singing is a distinctly Christian activity. Therefore, gatherings on Sunday mornings should be anticipated with great joy!
However, over the decades, the discipline of worshipping together through song has increasingly become a Sunday only activity. Families may pray together but rarely do they sing together. Small groups may study the Bible, but not lift up their voices with harmonious praise. That has not always the case among disciples of Jesus.
What has changed over the years that has convinced us that Colossians 3:16 can only be experienced with microphones and vocalists in a Sanctuary? Perhaps we are missing an important spiritual discipline.
Unless you grew up with parents or grandparents who sang at home, the thought of gathering with others outside of Sunday morning to sing may sound really strange. In order to work towards obeying God’s words in Colossians 3:16, we may need address some cultural barriers.
First, it’s easy to become overly self-conscious in a world which idolizes vocal perfection. Second, we can let our lives be so bombarded with noise that silence sounds more attractive than singing. Third, we can get so busy or distracted that we forget to see the God-given opportunities for worship which occur when family and friends gather around a table for a meal.
Fortunately, new habits of praise can begin with each new day. With technology (like Spotify, YouTube or the radio), a Christian doesn’t even need to know how to play an instrument or be pitch perfect in order to lead others in a moment of worshipful singing. How might you put Colossians 3:16 into practice this week? Singing together is one more way that we can honor Jesus and encourage one another’s souls.
Lord help us to do what You ask for Your glory. Through Jesus, Amen!