Someone asked me, “Why do you sing?” I wanted to say, “How can I not sing? How can I keep from singing?” I could have shared the reported health, social, and cognitive benefits of singing. But that’s not why I sing.
Psalms 96:1-2 says, “Sing unto the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord, all the earth. Sing to the Lord, bless his name; tell of his salvation from day to day.” God wants us to sing, even commands us to sing. Music and songs express emotions. Emotions help us remember information. Music helps us remember words. We sing the words God wants us to remember.
In Colossians 3:16 we read, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, … singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs with thankfulness in your hearts to God.” When we learn songs about God, they dwell in us richly. Music helps us reflect on God’s word; it helps us linger on the words and hold them on our tongues and in our hearts. Music amplifies the feeling of the words. “Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent.” —Victor Hugo
I have been blessed to sing in choirs since I was 4 years old. One memory from that Cherub Choir is of my teacher’s feet as she walked around the circle of preschoolers. Even at that age, I knew they were loving feet, that this was I place I learned about love, about God’s love, and that singing to God was a way to love God and lead others to God. In every choir in which I have sung, our singing was to give God glory and to help others to experience the power of that praise.
My own children started singing in choirs at Christ United when they were preschoolers. Like me, they sang in choirs throughout their elementary and high school years. While they didn’t continue in college, music has remained a big part of their lives. For the past 15 years, I have helped with Christ United’s youngest choir singers. What a joy to be at the start of what I hope will be a musical journey for each of those children. What a privilege to be one through whom they experience God’s love. May their lives be blessed with the love of music.
So, why do I sing? I sing to experience God in my life. Music has a way of opening one’s heart to feel God’s presence and to hear God’s Word. Singing in a choir allows us to come together in community to sing praise, to glorify God. Singing draws us together, we lean on each other and strengthen each other. We tune our hearts to sing God’s praise. As children of God, each one of us has a song to sing.