The easing of lockdown and the Church

Thoughts 28th June 2020

 

We are in the early stages of beginning to open up our Churches and although this gives us a chance to meet together in community, what will our Worship Services look like? We are still restricted to social distancing and we are still not allowed to sing any hymns. For Methodists this is a difficult thing to accept as hymn singing is an expression of our faith. The early Methodists met and sang hymns about our theology and the result was that many were ‘born in song’ because singing the words out loud changed their hearts from within.

 

We can argue that it is in the singing that the corporate nature of worship is most clearly expressed, therefore hymns are in fact the way we learn and express our faith and our theology. Furthermore, music can be seen as one of the primary means for us to worship God and it provides the body of Christ with an opportunity to engage in heartfelt and meaningful praise of God. Congregational song in the New Testament is also highlighted. We repeatedly find singing taking place among people who had relationships, a shared joy, and a corporate purpose. An example of this is Colossians 3: 16, Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. Worshipping through song glorifies God, edifies the body, prepares our hearts for hearing the Word preached, and provides an outlet for a congregation’s response to teaching. Ministers and Local Preachers also choose hymns to comment upon scripture, to draw out key points, and to shape the mood of the service. As singing is predominantly congregational, it can lift up our spirits in a significant way when perhaps the written or spoken word does not seem to speak to us. Worshipping God through music can also be emotional. We can be joyful when singing of God's goodness, reverent when singing of his holiness, as well as thankful and moved when singing about Jesus on the Cross. God simply told us what kind of music we are to make when he told us in Ephesians 5:19, Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord. As we open our Church doors may we know that although unable to sing, music can still move us and change us even if we can not verbally express it. May we still feel our freedom and passion for God and may we honour and praise God for all he has done for us, by listening and hearing, not just with our ears, but with our hearts too.

 

When the time comes and we can sing again may we do so with great acclamation and be united as Methodists, praising and singing of God’s goodness as we sing these words:

 

Christ, whose glory fills the skies,

Christ, the true, the only Light,

Sun of Righteousness, arise,

triumph o’er the shades of night;

Day-spring from on high, be near;

Day-star, in my heart appear.

 

Charles Wesley (1707-1788)

 


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