Singing with one Voice
A couple of weeks ago I had the great experience of being swept up into the singing at church. “What?” I hear you ask. “You don’t get ‘swept up’ every Sunday?” Well…no. To be perfectly honest I don’t!
Now for some of you this will come as a shock – and for a few of you I will go down a couple of notches on your ‘spiritual gauge’; but ultimately I have become quite settled with the fact that not every Sunday service is a ‘heaven touching earth’ experience. In fact I have come to understand that the times that I do feel God in a tangible way are the exception, and not the rule – more on this in my next post!
On the Sunday that I refer to it wasn’t even that I was getting goose bumps, or seeing tongues of fire on my fellow worshipper’s heads. What lifted me to a heightened sense of God’s presence was hearing my voice join with those around me as we sung about God’s majesty and awesome power. In this single moment I was also aware that our voices, only about 50 in total, had joined with the heavenly hosts in the continual declaration of God’s greatness (Rev. 5).
Sadly, I don’t always recall the corporate aspect of our worship. I, like many western Christians, have been lulled into a desensitised state that all too often alienates me from the very community to which I have been accepted. Constance M. Cherry (2010) in her recent book The Worship Architect furthers this thought when she writes,
“We have been indoctrinated to think that we are individual worshipers who happen to form the constituency of a local congregation. We have mistakenly viewed our weekly worship as an opportunity for each person to pray individually to God, to hear the word individually, and to respond individually” (p. 13).
Guilty as charged.
This is the wonderful thing about singing in church. We do it together – at the same time. The act of singing in church is unlike any other activity of our corporate worship. Even when we pray in our services, one person speaks and the rest listen, whereas with our singing we participate simultaneously. What a magnificent gift God has given us. Bob Rognlien (2005) suggests “There is nothing that quite compares with singing a meaningful worship song to God” (p. 133). Moreover, there is nothing that quite compares to singing a meaningful worship song to God together!
I would love to hear about your experiences. Leave a comment about the times when you have become aware of your voice joining with the congregational voice to declare God’s goodness.
Cherry, C. M. (2010). The worship architect: A blueprint for designing culturally relevant and biblically faithful services. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic.
Rognlien, B. (2005). Experiential worship: Encountering God with heart, soul, mind & strength. Canada: NavPress.
Posted on September 24, 2010, in Singing, Worship, Worship Culture and tagged Church service, Congregational Singing, Corporate Worship, Singing, Worship. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.
Dan I am glad that you have had this experience. I havw also enjoyed those times when that connection is very real.
What amazes me is that I can have a greater sense of corporate connection singing the Brisbane Lions club song after a win (which sadly didn’t occur enough this year) more predictably than I do in worship experiences. It has made me wonder why a group of mostly strangers can celebrate as one voice the winning of their team (especially in our land where we do little corporate singing) and often not with vocal quality and yet when I come to corporate worship often the focus is not on joining with the heavenly to celebrate and worship out God?
I wonder if it says a lot about the unstated agendas around our corporate worship. Or maybe I am just cynical as I get older.
Dan, I’m reminded by your comments of Ephesians 5:19 where the singing of gathered Christians is both “to one another” and “to the Lord.”