The main point of congregational singing is to think great thoughts about God. If we’re going through the motions (like Pastor preached about this morning), we’re no better off than a traditional Roman Catholic church member quoting a prayer or a Buddhist monk chanting a.. chant.
Congregational singing is meant to unite the body in one voice, singing toward God a song of praise for all He’s done for us. The Psalms are songs, most of them designed for corporate worship. Reading the Psalms is sometimes like reading a hymnal. We’re reading great thoughts about a great God.
Songs like this morning cannot be sung with a glum face. Songs like “Mansion over the Hilltop” ought to produce an other-worldly experience (uh oh… did I just say experience?) in the worshiper. Why? Because he should be thinking of another world! When we THINK right, we FEEL right (experience).
New experiences are fun and exciting, but our church is not built around new experiences (flashy lights, pulsing music, minor chords and “mood” music). We are built on truth. Truth alone (again, like Pastor was preaching this morning) is the only stable foundation, so I want to sing songs that are built more on truth than experience.
This new hymnal is like the best of both worlds. Usually, we have to WORK to THINK to keep the songs FRESH in order to recognize the TRUTH of a song… and then we get the EXPERIENCE of seeing God in a sweet new light (based on the truth of a song). But new songs take a little less “work” to concentrate on the message. If it is a song that is a little less familiar, I think we concentrate more on the message rather than merely singing from memory.
I’m always burdened for people to think while they sing. It’s one of the only purposes of the congregational singing, and it’s important to what we do every week.
Reminder: as the choir, please remember to be the example in our worship time. I love you all very much and appreciated the powerful singing this morning. It was wonderful.
– Bro. Ryan