Thursday, 18 March 2021

Thought for the Day 18/03/21 - Father never used to sing in chapel

Father never used to sing in chapel, but Mam used to sing duets there with Mamgu.
Mother had 'a voice' that she'd grown up using to the full, but father had not and did not. Just mumbling to music was his way.
In truth he never wanted to be in chapel, he only went there for his wife, and I have to say it really, really showed. 
No, Dad saw nothing in chapel to sing about. 
So they didn't take me to chapel very long. 
It stopped when I was really very small.
And yet we always sang … quite loudly … in the car.


Singing in church is not like singing in your car

In this COVID era we've not QUITE been banned from singing in our meetings ... it just hasn't seemed safe at all to be doing so.


We worked out early on that our people WANTED to be singing. That's why we put on drive-in church to try to keep away the COVID but meet the need.


Household groups 'Drove In', waved at their neighbours through their windscreens and sang in the sterilising confines of their cars. 

The trouble with THAT was that something was still missing ... it just wasn't the same as singing out loud with all the others in your church.


The question that really bugged me, then, was 'Why?'


Make no mistake here, drive-in was far better than just putting something recorded up on-line, so people could use it on their own if they wanted to.


But as Paul wrote to the church he knew over at Ephesus, the point of singing in church was getting missed a bit in our Drive-In.


And that's where our Verse for the Day comes in to help us understand ...



"Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. 


Instead, be filled with the Spirit, 


speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. 


Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, 


always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, 


in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ."


                                                                                                           Ephesians 5:18-20


Singing isn't of simply individual benefit, says Paul, and that's why it isn't normally optional in the life of the churches. 


But singing IS what we're intended to do for one another too. 


We worship for our satisfaction and for those similar human needs that take others to the boozer for a drink!


The trouble is that when you take your problems to the boozer, you can find the boozer brings you problems of its own!


Paul seems to know what I'm saying because he recommends singing God's praises quite explicitly over going out and getting drunk on wine.


We sing God's praise for the sake of our mental and spiritual well-being.


We really need to take these words to heart from Paul:


 "Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, 


always giving thanks to God the Father for everything"



Paul takes it even further when he's writing to another church in Colossae:


"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. 


And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, 


do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, 


giving thanks to God the Father through him."


                                         Colossians 3:16-17



So congregational singing is a clear need for a healthy church in all normal situations ... although keeping it 'down' may be necessary in all sorts of unusual situations: when the authorities are persecuting believers, for example, or when there are lots of poor readers in a church who would feel excluded if the singing were too loud and less ... contemplative!


And yet for a time we may lose the privilege of singing, but to that there's always an actual cost.


The DAMAGE that gets done if you don't sing


Have you heard, by chance of the Regent Honeyeater?

(Pic. right: smart-looking little fella, isn't he?)


This bird used to be endemic to south-eastern Australia but, now endangered, they've found out it's losing its' song.


"They don't get the chance to hang around with other honeyeaters and learn what they're supposed to sound like" says Dr. Ross Crates in a learned article published yesterday by the Royal Society HERE.


Dr. Crates was having awful trouble finding ANY of these increasingly rare birds in the wild, until he realised "they were singing weird songs .... they didn't sound anything like a regent honeyeater - they sounded like different species". 


And when they lost their song they lost their identity as Regent Honeyeaters.


And when that happens they don't find a mate and do not multiply.


So they're on a crash course now towards dying out really FAST.


And it's all because they didn't learn how to sing.


The Point

Now here's the point: being true to your identity by rejoicing and singing God's truth ... singing the praises of the God Who is true .. is a key part of the role of the Christian and of the gathering of Christians that we call 'Church'.


Without it there's no resilient species growth or multiplication, and without that the species quickly dies out.


Singing God's praises TOGETHER creates our identity, builds His people up and puts His joy about in the world that we live in. THAT's where the multiplication of God's people and the fruitfulness comes in.


And yet ... at any given time that privilege may be taken from so we're left with any singing to God that we can do on our own, while we wait for the more face to  face privilege to resume.


The Takeaway


Have you got God's songs in your heart ... do they run through your mind throughout each day?


We all love to be part of a huge congregation, singing with gusto God's praise.


It does us GOOD!


We can FEEL it just building our faith.


But it isn't just the 'hwyl' that 'gees us up'!


It's the feeding of our souls which this does for us.


Today we have the joy of being free to individually sing to God whether it's in our minds, driving in the car ... or even in our shower.


It's not just  for fun that we do so.


But we PRAY for a return to face to face singing, because it does us so much good to be doing that.


Will you put a song of joyful praise to God TODAY in your heart?


And will you pray for face to face sung worship to restart soon?



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