[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]
GOD WANTS US TO SING IN TWO DIRECTIONS
Both of God’s “Instructions for Congregational Worship Singing”, require us to sing in two directions: Vertically and Horizontally.
Throughout human history and in every culture, country and creed, religious songs have been sung Vertically in praise to deity. Vertical Singing is a universal assumption. The classic definition of a ‘hymn’ is “a song of praise to God”. No Christian questions this. Contemporary Worship Songs sung in our churches every Sunday are almost exclusively Vertical “praise and worship” to God. We do this Vertical Singing
The neglected dimension is Horizontal Singing: “addressing one another” in song, and using lyrics and music to “teach and admonish one another”. How often do you plan to teach God’s Word to the congregation, using music? No – we leave that to the midweek Bible Study or the preacher’s Sermon. That’s where “teaching” takes place ~ we don’t use the band for teaching doctrine to our people.
How often do you get life-direction, a challenge to self-discipline, evangelistic outreach, loving your enemies, from the songs you sing in church on Sundays? No – that is Sermon territory, and if it gets too personal, then we get a visit from the pastor. But we
don’t sing to one another about such things.
In Ephesians 5:18,19 God wants a vibrant connection between “being filled with the Spirit” and “Singing”: Spirit-filled Christians will sing Horizontal Songs in every genre at their disposal “addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs”
In Colossians 3;16 God wants a productive connection between “being indwelt with the word of Christ” and “Singing”: Christians who love the Bible will sing Horizontal Songs in every genre at their disposal. They will “teach and admonish one another with all
wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs”.
God will be delighted with our Singing in Church when we sing Horizontally to one another, as well as when we sing Vertically to Him. Let’s make Him happy!