Which songs shall we sing?

[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]

So, what songs would we enjoy singing this coming Sunday? We’d like to start with some upbeat Praise and then move to quieter songs of Worship. We want songs that will bring us into God’s presence. Oops! Wrong question, wrong angle on worship. Our choice of songs should not be determined by what WE like, but by what GOD likes. We worship Him, not ourselves. HIS tastes ought to dictate OUR choice of songs.

So, what directions has God given us for our worship in song?

Only two New Testament Scriptures answer this question directly: Ephesians 5:18-20 and
Colossians 3:16,17. I like to think of the first, which emphasises the Holy Spirit, as the “Pentecostal-Charismatic” instruction, and the second, which emphasises the Word of Christ, as the “Reformed” instruction. These two streams of emphasis usually separate the Body of Christ into those who enjoy “Contemporary Worship Songs” (CWSs) and those who enjoy “Hymns”. God unites them by saying He enjoys both, provided they meet the criteria He gives in these verses. And the criteria are parallel for both, as seen in this line-by-line arrangement of the NIV text..

Notice that what seems so important to us when we choose our songs for Sunday worship is not that important to God. We major on whether it is a CWS or a Hymn, whether it is upbeat or meditative, whether it is accompanied by an organ or a band, or without any instruments. All of these things are irrelevant to God. He wants variety – all kinds, ‘psalms, hymns and spiritual songs.’ He wants to hear us sing them.

In the months ahead, we’ll look deeper into God’s favourite ingredients of the songs He wants to hear, as this column cues us in to His heart for our Worship.

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