Journal Matt 26:1-46 (all references are from the ESV; changes in punctuation are mine)
Scripture: Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and after blessing it, broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.” And [Jesus] took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink of it, all of you, for this is the blood of the covenant which is poured out for the forgiveness of sins.
I tell you I will not drink again of this fruit of the vine until THAT DAY when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.”
And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives. (Matt 26:26-30)
Observation: I wonder what hymn they sang. I wonder what the subject matter was. I wonder who led it. I wonder if it was pre-prepared or spontaneous, and if it was something they all knew…
Singing is so important in the Kingdom…
Application: What do you sing after communion?
I am sure I could come up with something deep in my portfolio of songs that I can’t play. But it isn’t the music,
It is the lyrics.
No doubt that catchy tunes make for enjoyable singing. I have been thinking of the miracle in God creating 8 significant vibrations that make the sounds known as “notes.” There are the in-between notes known as flats or sharps, but all have their foundation in 8 notes.
Truly a miracle in that I don’t recognize it as such. Nobody has come up with any alternative that doesn’t use these 8 notes as a base. I don’t think Man can.
But lyrics, that is another subject.
I have questions that I pose myself often:
- What am I singing about?
- To whom am I singing?
- What is the subject matter?
- Am I singing because I like the tune and “who cares” about the lyrics or am I being discerning and discriminating about what I sing my heart about?
I like the songs I grew up with, the late 50’s to 70’s rock and roll, R&B, easy listening…Beatles, Beach Boys, Motown, Ray Charles, Roy Orbison, Monkees, Three Dog Night, and I could go on and on. But I must admit, while I have a fond place in my heart for these, I don’t sing them much anymore (except now that I have mentioned them, my mental Rolodex is searching…)
The chorus’ are benign enough, but the lyrics can get racy and suggestive. I will bet today’s music follows a similar pattern.
What about Christian music? This pops up between my ears:
About this we have much to say, and it is hard to explain, since (I) have become dull of hearing…(I) need someone to teach (me) again the basic principles of the oracles of God. (I) need milk, not solid food (preferable), for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness…But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil. Therefore, let us leave the elementary doctrine of Christ and go on to maturity… (excerpt from Heb 5:11-6:1a)
What I sing about is what I reinforce in the quiet and rowdy, down and up times of my daily life. I do not have to ponder on how to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thes 5:17) because I know that I sing in my head without calling up an effort.
Charles Wesley wrote over 6,000 songs in his life, many to reinforce Christian Doctrine in a catchy way. Many are still sung…but could use some freshening up in the music. The group Indelible Grace is good for stuff like that. We are fortunate to have good hymn writers today, focusing on solid songs and lyrics such as the Getty’s, Redman, Townsend, and others—stuff to support me with doctrine through all hours.
What do I sing? What am I reinforcing? Am I growing mature when I sing? Am I challenging myself with God exalting lyrics…or self?
Prayer: Lord God, God of wonder and majesty. Thank you for music. Thank you for gifted men and women who look to exalt you in lyric and song. Keep me focused on You all the rest of my days.
Ricky Two Shoes