The joy of singing together

[notice]Hugh Wetmore is a songwriter and student of worship trends. He invites you to join the worship conversation by commenting on his monthly column.[/notice]

Singing on your own sounds thin and raspy … this diminishes your desire to sing with your own voice. It is easier to give up and simply listen to the miked professionals up front, with the backing of their excellent band.

But we miss out on a deep pleasure which God intended when He created us with adjustable vocal chords that can pitch at various levels, and with ears that can tune in those vocal chords to maximise their effectiveness and harmony.

When most white Africans sing in church, they depend on the vocals on the platform for their musical direction. If they sing too loud in the congregation, someone will notice, so they tend to pull back in order to blend into the wallpaper. If they make a squeak when others around them are silent, they blush with embarrassment. They depend on the guitar and keyboard chords to fill out the melody with some harmony.

When most black Africans sing in church they don’t sing wispily, as if they are scared that someone else would actually hear them singing! Their natural harmonies are amazing. They don’t get them off a page of lines and dots. They automatically move into harmonies, pasting layers of sound over layers of sound. Some start here, and others feel their way into the music later on, and together they sing their hearts out.

Joyful harmony
When individuals sing TOGETHER, with a joyful enthusiasm, each participant adds to the pleasure of the others. And the more the merrier! And if these individuals can learn to harmonise different notes as they sing together, the pleasure is compounded.

But are we even supposed to enjoy singing in our worship services? Isn’t that self-centred? Of course, it can be — and we must resist the temptation to simply sing for our own pleasure. To focus on our own singing experience is not worship at all. Worship ought not to be a means of our own entertainment … and “worship concerts” can lead us into temptation here.

But for the true God-centred Christian, Worship in Song gives pleasure because it is directed to honouring and celebrating God. He is worthy, and ascribing “worth” to our God and Saviour Jesus Christ lifts us out of ourselves as we join our singing voices in harmony with others. That’s why, in the Bible, “praising the Lord in loud singing” is so often an expression of Joy (Psalm 65:13; 81:1; 86:4; 89:1; 92:1-4; 95:1; 96:1-14; 98:4; 100:1 etc. etc. etc.).

So, let the sound-desk tone down the electronic amplification, and let the voices of a crowd of Christians amplify the worth of our Triune God. Let the full variety of (unplugged!) instruments carry us as we Siiiiing together, enthusiastically declaring His worship and His word. Let those who worship other gods envy us as they hear the superior attributes of the One and Only true and living God!

One Comment

  1. Assie Van der Westhuizen

    When I came to the end of the last paragraph, I spontaneously exclaimed “YES! AMEN!”.