Vocal Cords from the Soul

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People gather together and assemble in groups for all kinds of reasons. Parties and concerts, performances and sporting events, lectures and auctions, dinners and spectacles of all sorts. Group gatherings are a regular part of our lives, and they all have their own rules that you learn to follow as you attend them. Yet there is one corporate event that is the most important gathering of your life.

You are the new humanity in Christ Jesus. It is as that new humanity that you gather here each Lord’s Day for the most important gathering of your days. Each week we gather as God’s covenant people, specifically assembling as this new humanity that Jesus is recreating out of the broken mass of the old humanity. And God renews His covenant with us as we assemble before him to hear and pray and eat and drink.

This means that we should never miss the covenant renewal unless we absolutely have to.

This means that we should gear our lives toward being ready for this meeting. We should prepare our hearts by reading the Word and praying. We should settle all accounts with those whom we have offended.

And this means we should think about how we conduct ourselves in the worship assembly. Specifically, when you sing, sing heartily. This is my exhortation to you today. Sing loudly. Sing with gusto. Paul counseled bondservants in Colossians 3:23 never to obey merely because their masters were watching but to obey “heartily.” The word “heartily” is actually a translation of the phrase “out of the soul.” “Obey out of the soul.” In the same way, I am exhorting you to sing heartily – “out of your soul.” Don’t sing and confess and say amen in a perfunctory way, the way, say, you brush your teeth in the morning. How do you brush your teeth in the morning? You do it as a matter of habit. You do it without thinking. You do it because that is what you do in the morning.

I am saying to you, though, to sing from your soul. Let the volume knob be on high. I don’t care that your voice is not great. Your soul is full. Let your voice be heard – by your church family, by the principalities and powers who are intimidated by your praise, and by your Heavenly Father, who loves your zeal.

Come, new humanity, you are at no mundane sporting event. You are at no mere lecture. You are at the meeting point of heaven and earth, where God renews covenant with His special possession, His people of promise. Sing and confess and pray out of your soul, for the glory of the Triune God.

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5 Responses to “Vocal Cords from the Soul”

  1. thanker212 Says:

    Our previous pastor from Las Vegas was a spring of quotable sayings. One of my favorites, often after a particularly moving song, was, “If that didn’t get ya’ going, then you’re twice dead, plucked up by the roots.” I’m not sure if that is the meaning Jude had, but I think of it often looking at my own starchy singing. I’m naturally reserved and it’s to my shame that any hand waving or expresed emotions seem contrived. If I were surrounded by others praising vocally and physically, then maybe it wouldn’t be so uncomfortable.

  2. davidbryant Says:

    I think you have something there, thanker. There is something about hearty singing that helps me be more hearty. Do you think that God designed us that way?

  3. thanker212 Says:

    I’m guessing that your question is mostly rhetorical, but I’ve been thinking about the answer to this. Yes, I know it’s been awhile, but sometimes thinking can be a long process for me… 🙂

    Obviously, we are to worship in unity/community, but I can see so many ways that our singing with gusto can be yet another sinful expression. I catch myself getting too caught up in singing the right notes that I sometimes hardly pay attention the words. Or when I’ve got the notes down pat, then I’m prideful in my bee-u-ti-ful voice. As a pastor, I can imagine that the level of involvement in this part of the service could be used as a barometer for how well you are preaching. Was it Luther? who said that even our tears of repentance must be covered with the blood of the cross… So even our expressions of worship.

    Then there’s David, dancing and singing nearly naked down the street and what a joyful noise that must have been. It was certainly done heartily.

    btw, another saying that our previous pastor would say to get everyone singing was, “God likes to hear the crow caw as much as he likes to hear the sparrows tweet.”

    later.

  4. thanker212 Says:

    annddd, doesn’t it just come down to what we believe? Do we believe the songs that we are singing… do we believe that God is present in our worship… and do we believe that He is pleased by our worship…?

  5. davidbryant Says:

    Amen to your rhetorical questions!

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