Singing is Good for the Spirit September 8, 2021
“O sing to 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. Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous works among all the peoples. For great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised; he is to be revered above all gods. For all the gods of the peoples are idols, but the Lord made the heavens. Honor and majesty are before him; strength and beauty are in his sanctuary.”—Psalm 96: 1-6
“O Sing to the Lord!” What a wonderful phrase in the Bible. Singing literally fills our lungs with air so that we have more energy. That is why we take deeper breaths when we are tired. More than that, singing fills our hearts and spirits with “life”. It is difficult to sing a song without feeling more ALIVE in the world. That the whole Psalter in the Bible was originally SUNG in worship should not surprise us. The Psalmist found that when he expressed his innermost thoughts and feelings in song, he felt the presence of God more keenly. I suspect the Psalmist felt that a weight had been lifted off his shoulders when he sang–and that his spirit was lighter and less sorrowful.
Even humming a song–or whistling it–can lift your spirit. Remember the Disney movie, “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs”? The dwarfs sang a memorable song entitled, “Whistle While You Work.” Perhaps you too have whistled that song while you worked! We do so because humming or whistling a song seems to lighten the burden of work–or to help us get through it more quickly. Even overhearing someone else “hum” or “whistle” while they work seems to help us. Humming and whistling is contagious!
I remember hearing a group of African American fishermen from a coastal town in North Carolina years ago. They were career fishermen and shared songs with us that they had sung while they worked. These songs had been passed along to them from previous generations of fishermen. Their melodies were repetitive and full of earthy rhythms. Their words echoed the physical strain of casting out nets for fish and bringing them in–over and over again. Yet these were not songs of drudgery, but of hope. They brought life to the work or these fishermen and buoyed their faith.
Singing is central to our worship of God. It is hard to think of worshiping God without music and singing. Even when COVID prevented us from singing as a congregation in worship, our spirits are buoyed by simply humming along with the choir.
Our Music Director, Rosalie Hovencamp, and I often talk about our favorite hymns. Recently, we wondered what YOUR favorite hymns might be? We would love to know. Please consider taking a moment to send me an email with your favorite hymns to firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to learning about the hymns that bring joy to your spirit. We would also like to sing more of them in church!
Blessings, Your Pastor, John