O sing to the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord, all the earth.
Sing to the Lord, bless his name; —Psalm 96:1-2
“But I don’t like to sing.” “I can’t carry a tune.” “I just don’t have a singing voice.” Do you know how many times in my life I have heard statements like that? When in “recruiting mode,” choir directors are often met with such polite ways of saying, “No!” Or how about, “I’ve never sung in a choir before.” The worst one is, “When I was a child, I was told I couldn’t sing.”
Sing praises to God, sing praises; sing praises to our King, sing praises.
For God is the king of all the earth; sing praises with a psalm. —Psalm 47:6-7
Well here is my not-so-polite response: “Too bad!!” Whew, OK, sorry, but it feels good to get that out after years of smiling and nodding and accepting people’s rejection of my invitation to join choir.
Sing to him, sing praises to him; tell of all God’s wonderful works. —Psalm 105:2
And while it seems kind of harsh, that just may be God’s response, as well. Singing is a big thing in the Bible. The word “sing” appears 292 times in the NRSV pew Bibles (plus 190 more when you include “singing,” “sang,” and “song”). The entire book of Psalms was meant to be sung, and we will sing many of them during the hymn festival in worship this Sunday. So let me address each of the objections mentioned in the first paragraph.
“But I don’t like to sing,” etc. What would you say to someone who said, “But I don’t like to pray,” or “I don’t like forgiving people,” or “I don’t like praising God”? You probably wouldn’t say, “OK, no problem. You can just skip that.” The Bible tells us to sing—it doesn’t present it as an option.
“I’ve never sung in a choir before.” Oh, really? Are you sure about that? I’ll bet you’ve sung in the choir at BPC without even knowing it. That’s because the main choir in worship is the congregation. The other choirs meet to rehearse music that requires practice to prepare. You are a member of the congregational choir whether you like it or not, so you might as well sing!
“When I was a child, I was told I couldn’t sing.” This one makes me sad. I know people whose music teachers or choir directors told them to just move their mouths in the concert so they wouldn’t “spoil” the music. It is true that some people are more gifted than others at many things, including singing, and we usually want to use the gifts we’ve been given. You have to try out for some choirs and have a certain level of ability to join. But luckily, the main choir of God’s people is for everyone—no audition required! Psalm 96 says, “Sing to the Lord, all the earth!” not “Sing to the Lord, those of you who can sing in four part harmony!”
So I will always sing praises to your name, as I pay my vows day after day. —Psalm 61:8
Scripture Readings for Sunday, August 7: Psalm 150; Col. 3:14-17
The Prayer list can be found here.