“Sing to him, sing praises to him; tell of all his wondrous works! Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the LORD rejoice!”—Psalm 105:2-3.
God’s summons to praise is universal: “Let everything that has breath praise the Lord! Praise the Lord!” (Psalm 150:6). Throughout the Bible praise is expressed through singing. People of all ages (see Exodus 15), angels and heavenly beings (see Revelation 5), and our Lord Jesus himself (Matthew 26:30) lift their voices in song. The Psalms are full of exhortations to sing God’s praise: “Sing to him, sing praises to him!” The big take-away from all of this; we all are meant to sing God’s praise!
Church music, therefore, is not just for professionals. Certainly there is evidence that professional musicians participated in Old Testament worship. Their music heralded God’s presence and promoted his praise: “Your procession is seen, O God, the procession of my God, my King, into the sanctuary—the singers in front, the musicians last, between them virgins playing tambourines: ‘Bless God in the great congregation, the Lord, O you who are of Israel’s fountain!’” (Psalm 68:24–26). These Levitical musicians gave acclaim to God and added a sense of great profundity to worship. They were there to serve the Lord and the congregation by encouraging all to praise.
We don’t know what all of this sounded like. One thing we can know for sure; it did not sound anything like what we do today, either traditional or contemporary! I think there is an important lesson here. God is not as interested in what our music sounds like as he is in what our lives sound like. Psalm 105 calls God’s people to “tell of all his wondrous works! Glory in his holy name.” God knows whether our songs are sung with hearts that delight in his wonderful works, with wills that truly seek to glorify his name. There is no room for hiding behind a musical style or aesthetic with God. We cannot honor him simply by getting the best musical group together and putting on the best performance. What he wants is much harder to achieve; in fact, it took the death of his own Son to accomplish it. He wants a people who belong to him and he to them, a people who put their trust in him and honor him.
If you love the Lord, sing praises to him. If you lack confidence in your voice, let that not diminish your confidence in God. Make it a priority to know him and to understand and do what he loves. The Lord helps us know his own priorities as he spoke through Jeremiah: “Thus says the Lord: ‘Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the Lord’” (Jeremiah 9:24).
Our great desire in Tenth’s music ministry is to help people of all ages, backgrounds, and abilities to love singing God’s praises, and to walk humbly before him. For this reason, we have a number of different areas of musical training and service available:
Children—Contact Joseph Waggoner, Music Education Director, for details.
Praisemakers—Pre-K music program for ages 4–5. Sunday mornings in B2, leaving the 11 AM worship service at the second hymn.
Tenth Children’s Music—Music program for grades 1–6. Sunday evenings, 6:15–7:40 PM, in 315 S. 17th Street for choir, strings, handbells, and hymnody work. Begins September 11.
High School/Adult—Contact Colin Howland, Music Director, for details.
Tenth Men’s Choir—The men’s choir sings once monthly in morning worship and rehearses between morning services (10:20–10:45 AM) in the choir loft. First rehearsal is Sunday, September 18. No experience is necessary.
Tenth Church Choir—The Tenth Church Choir sings at the Sunday evening service and also for special services and concerts. Previous choral experience and ability to read music are helpful but not essential. Rehearsals are at 5:15 PM on Sundays and 6:30–8:30 PM on Mondays. First rehearsal is Sunday, September 11.
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Please include the following statement on any distributed copy: By Colin Howland. © 2020 Tenth Presbyterian Church. Website: tenth.org