Sing with us at EQUIP19
“[Singing] trains [us] for heaven where praise is one of the principle occupations.” (J.C. Ryle)
Christian singing is not about being a gifted singer; some of us are tone-deaf, while some of us can harmonise spontaneously. As we sing with ‘one voice’, it’s a concrete and profound expression of the heavenly reality. We gather because we are deeply connected; baptised by one Spirit into one body, Christ’s body; as dependent on one another as the organs of our physical bodies.
Whilst singing together is not the only, nor primary, expression of our unity, the Bible does command us to sing!
For example: Colossian 3:16
Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.
In the verses before, Paul reminds the Colossians that they are one body. The command to sing flows from thankfulness that they are no longer alienated from God and so each other, but reconciled through Christ’s body.
So, our singing is not mostly for ourselves but for one another and for God. It’s a way that the message of Christ, or the gospel, dwells among his people; our singing mutually teaches, reminds and encourages one another. And it’s a way that we praise God for all he has given us, not just as individuals, but as his people. Singing together trains us for heaven!
When we sing together at our conference, it’s literally a ‘taste of heaven’, and one of the few joys of gathering together that can’t quite be transported via our livestream. Though we know thousands of you sing along in your own livestream groups, it’s not quite the same. For one, I can’t hear the women at Gosford Presbyterian and they can’t hear us - microphones have their limits!
It’s true, our local churches are the God-given gatherings where we daily live out our ‘one-body-ness’. But now and again, the opportunity to gather as a bigger group reminds us of the, as yet unseen, heavenly ‘body’ of all believers of which our earthly gatherings are a representative and foretaste.
So, can I encourage you to get familiar with the songs we’ll be singing at EQUIP19 - you can listen to them on Spotify. Then, you can sing joyfully and loudly with all of us on June 22 - whether that’s at ICC Sydney, in a church hall at Bluff Point WA, or in someone’s lounge room - as we remember and celebrate all we have in Christ.
If you’d like to think more about congregational singing, this article, The Role of Singing in the Life of the Church by Rob Smith is a great place to start.