Why worship with singing? Worship isn't just singing, but it is part of it.
I heard someone say this on a podcast recently, what do you think when you hear a phrase like that? Do you think “I’m not sure that’s right, 'worship' is a whole life attitude not just something we do on a Sunday?”
Or do you think, “Well 'worship' is singing, right?"
Or do you think something else entirely? Well the apostle Paul wrote a letter in the first century AD to instruct the church in Rome to
Worship is to be a sacrifice of our whole bodies, our whole lives, and we need to consider all the things we do as acts of worship. That has big implications for how we worship God; in our jobs, with our families, through our illnesses, in rest and celebration. So praising God in church is worship, just as honouring God at work is, or thanking God at mealtimes.
So some might think, “great, I’ll tick the ‘worshiping God at home and work’ box and I won’t have to do the ‘singing worship’ part.” A trip to any church on a Sunday would provide loud vocal evidence to suggest this isn’t a biblical conclusion! In the Bible we see time and time again that part of what we present to God in worship should be singing, Psalm 147:1 puts it like this:
I actually enjoy singing. Perhaps it’s the frequencies, resonance, interesting song melodies and words, I couldn't pinpoint it; I have just always found playing guitar and singing to be cathartic.
However, I know that’s not true for all of us, singing is definitely a sacrifice for some people. Whether that’s because society imposes a certain view of singing being acceptable (especially for men) or whether it’s because you’re not good at it you don’t enjoy it, it is part of our spiritual worship, presenting sacrifices to God.
Something that I learnt from a talk by Bob Kauflin on worship is that the Bible has over four hundred references to singing and fifty direct commands to sing: you can’t get away from it! If someone asked you 400 times to do something, you'd maybe get the hint that it was important to them.
So I hope you’ll join me in ‘singing worship to God this Sunday’, even if you don’t necessarily want to, knowing that living lives of worship means sacrifice, and for some of us, part of that sacrifice includes singing on Sunday.
On the theme of sacrifice, this is a song by Dustin Kensrue based on the famous ‘Suffering Servant’ passage in the book of Isaiah:
You can listen to or read that full Bob Kauflin talk here.