Music is a completely gratuitous and unnecessary part of human life. And yet, music is a great blessing to human existence. Music can reach a deep place in our soul and touch us in ways that nothing else can. Sometimes it expresses feelings that cannot be expressed any other way.
In Colossians 3:16 we read: ‘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.’ The word ‘and’ tells us clearly that another way the word of Christ dwells in us is through song. Teaching is an important way in which the powerful truths of our faith are communicated. But equally important in the history of the church, and in the lives of its members, is music.
When we sing, a beautiful thing happens in our soul: the deep, true and powerful words these songs and hymns express become our words; they express what we are feeling toward God in a way that no other medium of communication can. It is as if our soul takes wing.
All worship is a response to God’s prior act of love towards us. When we encounter the love of God, what else can we do but praise God? And what better means of communicating this gratitude, our responsive love to God, than in song? St Augustine once wrote: ‘To sing is the work of a lover.’
We sing in response to a God who has always been singing over us: The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.’ (Zephaniah 3:17)
When the Holy Spirit gives us ears to hear, our hearts are stirred and our only genuine response is to sing our praise to the Lord.
God has been rejoicing over me with singing, taking great delight in me. My only response is to sing back to God, rejoicing and taking great delight in him.
Gracious Abba, thank you for the gift of music, for the gift of singing, and for the gifted men and women who write beautiful songs of worship and praise to you. May the ears of my heart be opened, so that I can hear your song of love for me, and may I respond by singing songs that express my love for you. Amen.
What role has music played in your spiritual life?