Jump Start # 3132
Ephesians 5:19 “speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord.”
Most know the name Martin Luther as the reforming monk who nailed 95 theses to the Wittenberg church door and started a revolution against the corruption within the Catholic church. From his writings sprang the reformation movement that spread throughout Europe and turned the world upside down.
Luther was much more than a preacher. He was a teacher and a scholar. But he was also a hymn writer. In 1524 he published a series of hymns for the church. One of the things he did was to take popular songs of the day and put sacred words to them. The people already knew the tunes. Luther is said to have made the statement, “The devil should not have the best tunes.” In our times, the movie “Sister Act” and the sequels were built around that concept of taking pop hits and putting a spiritual twist to them.
Singing is an important part of our worship and our lives. Throughout the day, most of us do not preach to ourselves, but we can and do sing and hum tunes. One doesn’t have to be gifted in music nor have a wonderful voice to do that. Our hymns remind us. Our hymns teach us. Our hymns challenges us. Our hymns can by sung by the little ones as well as the big ones. Get a group of disciples together and break out in some good ole’ fashioned singing. What a wonderful time that is. It’s encouraging. It’s faith building.
Our verse today contains two directions. The directions are set off by the word “to.” First, we are to sing TO one another. This is where the teaching, reminding and encouraging comes from. You sing to me and I sing to you. And, not only are we helping each other out, but the blending of our voices is a demonstration of unity. If I’m singing one song and you’re singing a different song, all at the same time, it’ll likely sound like a cat fight. But together, same hymn, in unity, blending voices is reflective of blending attitudes, hearts and hopes. We pray together. We work together. We have one mind, one heart and one voice. Singing to each other reminds us of this.
Our verse has another, “to.” It’s found at the end of the passage. We are to make melody with our hearts TO the Lord. We must remember that our singing is worship. What we say matters. It is to honor and praise the Lord. We sing TO each other and we sing TO the Lord.
Now some thoughts:
First, everyone has hymns that they like and we all have hymns that we don’t like so much. Some of us like the hymns we grew up with. Others like faster, newer hymns. Part of unity is singing the hymns that may not be my favorite. I think it’s rather funny when the song before I am supposed to preach is “It won’t be very long.” I wonder if the song leader is hoping that’s the way the sermon will be—not very long. If I only sing the songs that I like and don’t sing the ones that I don’t like, then I am demonstrating a rather sour and selfish spirit. That’s counter to unity. I’ll have it my way or I won’t participate. That doesn’t set well with the Lord, the church or trying to accomplish things. So, I have sung hymns that I hardly knew. I have sung hymns that weren’t my favorite. And, I have sung hymns that I love so much that I wish we could sing it again and again.
Second, putting thought into the words is the key to our hymn singing. It’s easy to just sing without thinking about what we are singing. But in that, there is little praise TO God and we are not doing much for one another. Think about the words. Put names in your mind behind some of the words. When we sing, “Faith of our fathers,” think about some of those early Christians, such as Antipas who died for his faith. Think about those in your life who has helped you on your spiritual journey. The thoughts you put into the hymns can build your faith and make your worship so meaningful.
Third, get in the practice of singing hymns outside the worship period. In your car, sing some hymns. This is a great family activity to do. Singing a hymn can set your mind to where it ought to be. It can place Heaven before your eyes. It can turn your mood around and it can get you through some difficult tasks. I knew a disciple who had to lay still for a long time during a medical test. He was told to bring a headset to listen to music. He chose to sing hymns to himself. The test was over but he wasn’t finished singing hymns. The staff was amazed at how calm and still he remained throughout the test. I wasn’t. His mind and his heart were somewhere else. The hymns brought a peace to him. He was singing TO the Lord.
The devil shouldn’t have the best tunes. I think Luther was right about that. I’m thankful for the gifted brethren who use their talents to continually write new hymns and to bring glory to the Lord.
Singing to one another and singing to the Lord. This is something all of can do. This is something that is good to do. Singing isn’t filler in our worship time. It’s as important as the other aspects of our worship.
Singing TO the Lord. How about picking out a hymn right now, and start singing. I’ve got Blessed Assurance on my mind…how about you?