Of all the wondrous aspects of worship God has given us, I have to say my favorite is worshiping Him in song. When done right everyone is included, everyone is together, everyone is one mind, one body worshiping the almighty God in love and spirit. When not done right, our soul is not edified and God is not glorified. Now, when I say “not done right”, I do not mean that the song was too high or too low. I also don’t mean that the song leader was off key or that a rogue soprano was screaching so loudly it threw everyone off! Singing “not done right” occurs when our minds and our hearts are not fully engaged. God is not honored when we sing “Hallelujah, Praise Jehovah” while our minds are mentally choosing which restaurant we’ll dash off to after the last “amen”. When we sing, “Oh How I Love Jesus” and our minds are drifting to the scuff we just noticed on our shoe, how did it get there, maybe it’s time to go shoe shopping, hey maybe I should run to the mall later, oops…”because He first loved me!”, we have missed an opportunity to sing of our love for Jesus. Our worship is a shadow of what it ought to be when our hearts and minds are not fully engaged, and God is not glorified to the extent He deserves.
Do we fully grasp the beauty of the hymn “A Common Love”? In a world of discord, hatred, and division, this song truly exemplifies what the Lord’s church ought to be, and oh the bliss when we fulfill God’s vision in John 17:22-23, “The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one…” When we’re singing in worship, we are to be one organism, with one heart and one purpose, connected by the divine, common thread of our love for God. We share a common love for each other, our song is a common gift to the Savior, and we are connected by a common bond of Christian love holding us to the Lord. We are strengthend with a common strength of God’s love when we’re weary, we share a common hope for tomorrow that no man can ever take away, and we share a common joy in the beautiful truth of God’s Word!
In a world that loves to scream at the top of its’ collective lungs that there is no God, I always feel spiritually empowered when we sing, “Our God, He Is Alive”. This is a hymn that shouts our faith from the mountaintops, hushing the enemies of God. This is a hymn that lovingly shines a light to those in darkness, lost and afraid. Yes, there IS a God! Yes, He is very much alive! And it is in Him that we live, and through Him that we survive! To those who are weary, this hymn is a celebration of faith. To those who are weak, this hymn gives strength! Go ahead world and cry your empty cries of disbelief, we know that there is beyond the azure blue a God concealed from human sight. This God, whose Son upon a tree, a life was willing there to give, that He from sin might set even you, oh athiest, free, if only you will turn to Him. For there is a God, and He is very much alive!
Life can be difficult. We have our ups and we have our downs. Certain hymns can help cheer us through the storms of life. I remember being smack dab in the middle of a howling storm of doubt and fear, when “Standing On The Promises Of God” really struck a deep cord with me. It reminded me that I could prevail, by the living Word of God! God was with me! His promises are firm and never fail! There is no stronger ground to stand on than the firm foundation constructed upon the enduring promises of God. And you know what? One day that howling storm did pass. During my storm, this was a very melancholy hymn, but after the storm, it became a declaration of thankfullness and relief that by the living Word of God I DID prevail, and oh how thankful I am for His promises.
It is during life’s storms that we can also grow in appreciation of “It Is Well With My Soul”. Life is wonderful when peace, like a river, attends our way. But there are times when sorrows and sea billows will roll. We are truly blessed when through faith, we can honestly declare that in times of both peace and sorrow, it is always well with our soul. And once the storm passes and peace is once again restored, that peace will be so much sweeter, and our faith will be that much stronger. I love how the song shifts from earthly sorrows to the cross. Our sorrows cannot compare to the sorrows that Jesus must have felt as he, along with my sin, was nailed to the cross, and because of Him I bear my sin no more, praise the Lord! Oh then we can look to that blessed day when faith shall become sight. Oh ladies, can you just imagine? The clouds rolling back upon themselves like a scroll, the trump of the Lord sounding, and Jesus Himself coming back to take us all home! May I ever live my life that I’ll always be able to declare this is VERY well with my soul!
The next time you are worshiping with your brothers and sisters, truly look at the words you are singing to the King of Kings. Sing with all your heart, and sing with understanding. Your worship will be enriched, even if you sing off key! And if the song leader leads the song slow, well that just gives you more time to contemplate the words! Our songs are our offering to God, and He deserves our full adoration.
Hallelujah, Praise Jehovah by Wm. J. Kirkpatrick
Oh How I Love Jesus by F. Whitfield
A Common Love by Charles F. Brown
Our God He Is Alive by A. W. Dicus
Standing On The Promises by R. Kelso Carter
It Is Well With My Soul by H. G. Spafford