Psalms and Hymns

What’s your favorite church song? There are a lot of good ones out there. A lot of bad ones, too. Not to sound too crotchety, but there’s one song in particular that just aggravates me. I don’t know who wrote it, but the offending line goes like this: “like a rose trampled on the ground, you took the fall, and thought of me above all.” I think I just threw up in my mouth.

Church songs are meant to be rich with theological truth, not sweet with saccharine pop song lyrics. Paul told the Colossians, “Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.” This verse can guide us as we gather together to sing at church.

As we sing psalms and hymns to God, we are simultaneously praising the Lord and teaching one another. We learn by singing. (Daniel Tiger, anyone?) Therefore, the message of Christ should be richly present in our music.

The message of Christ is the Gospel – the powerful proclamation that Jesus has died for our sins, was buried, and rose again on the third day. The implications of the Gospel are numerous, and all are worthy of being sung in lyrical poetry. But wherever we depart from the message of Christ in our songs, we depart from true worship.

When the message of Christ dwells in us richly as we sing psalms and hymns together, we ourselves become enriched. Singing about the Gospel honors God and encourages us in our faith. We receive the riches about which are neighbors are rejoicing!

So next Sunday, as you’re praising the Lord in church, remember that you’re doing more than singing. You’re teaching those around you, and you’re learning from them at the same time. Singing together builds up our faith and brings glory to God. So sing with all your heart!