Expressing ourselves when we sing
There are countless passages in the Bible which speak of praising God, and many reasons why we should praise God, (we are “called out of darkness” – 1 Peter 2:9, Revelation 4:11“Praise Him for His mighty deeds” and Psalm 150:2). Of course,one of the biggest reasons, if not the biggest reason for us today, is because of what he has done for us through the saving work of Jesus Christ. God sent his Son to die on a cross for oursins so that we won’t have to face God’s wrath which wedeserved. Not only did Jesus die but he rose up from the dead and he then ascended in to heaven conquering sin and death forever! That is an amazing reason for us to praise God. All he requires from us is to repent and believe in Him, (“The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance” – 2 Peter 3:9). A beautiful way in which we can praise God, because of who he is and what he has done, is by singing to him, (“make music to the LORD with the harp, with the harp and the sound of singing – Psalm 98:5)
Now bearing this in mind our response to what God has done for us should be that of joy and thanks. As we think of our own church it is healthy to reflect and ask ourselves, what does responding, expressing and presenting ourselves look like when we praise God by singing and playing music together in the light of forgiveness through Jesus as we stand reconciled to God? In order to answer this, we need to understand a few things first:
- Firstly, there needs to be a very clear understanding of what grace is and what it means to be a part of Gods family. As mentioned above, the saving work of Jesus needs to be made known every Sunday and through the underserving grace God showed us we can come as we are with all our sin and be forgiven and accepted as Gods children.
- Secondly, we all come from different cultures and we are a mass of people that gather together each Sunday with one thing in common, Jesus, and He is why we gather. We are united through the indwelling of God’s Holy Spirit which makes us family, God’s chosen people, His children, (“Butnow in Jesus Christ you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ – Ephesians 2:13)
- And thirdly, which ties in with the second point, our backgrounds are very different regards to our church going history as individuals and what each of us have experienced, whether it be only just recently exposed to the Christian faith and joining a church for the first time, being a part of many different churches in your walk with Christ or having been a member of one church for many years.
So, how should we be responding, expressing and presenting ourselves joyfully to each other and God when we sing at St Peters? To be honest, there isn’t a strict answer to this becauseof what was mentioned above, but a more pressing question that might help us know how to respond, express and present ourselves is this, what does the bible say, or does it say anything at all?
In the books of Exodus and the Psalms, (Exodus 12:27, Psalm 47:1 & 95:6) there are many verses that encourage spontaneous expressions which consist of clapping, shouting, dancing, bowing or lifting hands. Now in the New Testament there is arguably not as much of an emphasis of how we outwardly express ourselves to God. But as New Testament Christians who have seen the fulllength of God’s salvation plan in Christ there is certainly so much reason to praise God from the heart. We aren’t forced toexpress ourselves in any specific way, but we do have the freedom to outwardly express ourselves because Jesus is worthy of our deepest emotions and expressions and compassion for him. He deserves everything that we feel towards him and a beautiful way to show that, not only to him but to others around us on a Sunday, is to express our love for him, to encourage each other and show how grateful we are for what God has accomplished through Jesus Christ our Lord. How you do that is up to you
But, when we meet on Sundays, let us be mindful of how encouraging it is to see joy and thanks expressed and how uplifting it is for us as family to see that we can rejoice in our Heavenly Father for all that he is and has done for us. Let us not only say it but show it as we sing praises in the freedom that we have to the one and only God of the universe who knows and loves us.