Every week Christians all over the world gather together. At some point in their gathering they usually sing. Depending on the style of meeting they may sing from a hymnbook or by following words on a screen; from a stapled songsheet or by memory. But they do sing. Either they sing to God (as in contemporary worship services) or about God (as in traditional services), or a mixture of both.
Early disciples of Jesus must have engaged in both these types of singing as well. But there was another feature to their singing which is often overlooked. Paul refers to this unusual practice in Ephesians 5:19:
Address one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart.
Here Paul encourages the saints to sing not only to God but to one another. In Colossians he says basically the same thing, only with an emphasis on teaching and admonishing one another through song (Colossians 3:16).
When was the last time you were part of a church meeting where the members sang directly to one another? Yeah, it’s been a while for me, too.
At any rate, it’s a great practice which I highly recommend. I’ve seen it done and I’ve done it myself a time or two. I’ve even had it done to me. Below are the words of a song which was written as a gift for me and my wife by two friends of ours when they first moved to our town. It goes a little something like this:
We’re so glad to be here
With the saints and with our friends
For here we have a fellowship in the Spirit that never ends
We’re here to discover Jesus
Who lives inside of you
For we are His church even if we are few
We thank God for you (2x)
Now to Him who’s faithful and true
We give thanks, we give thanks for you
Very nice lyrics, if you ask me. I can remember the feeling in my heart the moment I first heard them coming from the mouths of my friends. The impact remains with me to this day. All I can hope is that one day I will once again be part of a community of people who care enough about each other to do unusual things like sing to one another.
And of course, I hope the same for you.