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Pastor’s Blog

The Unity of Worship

I recently thought about the very first song that we sang at Hope in our first worship service.  The song was “He Reigns” which was recorded by the Newsboys (click here to read all the lyrics – or here for a video of the Newsboys).  Here are the words to the first verse and the chorus:

It’s the song of the redeemed
Rising from the African plain
It’s the song of the forgiven
Drowning out the Amazon rain
The song of Asian believers
Filled with God’s holy fire
It’s every tribe, every tongue, every nation
A love song born of a grateful choir

It’s all God’s children singing
Glory, glory, hallelujah
He reigns, He reigns
It’s all God’s children singing
Glory, glory, hallelujah
He reigns, He reigns

     When God’s people praise Him, their voices are all joined together in a chorus of song to Him.  My wife told me about teaching our youth girls’ Sunday School class a few years ago and how one of their lessons on worship really brought this idea out.

     As I was thinking about that idea this week, I read an article by Tim Challies in which he talked about the experience of hearing a group of people singing, both from a distance and close up.  I wanted to post a part of that article for you to consider (to read the entire article, click here):

“I have had the experience a few times. I have walked into a building—a church or a school or a community center where a group of Christians meets—and I have heard distant singing. I’ve gone to investigate, walking quietly toward the sound, trying to track it down. And as I wandered the halls, I eventually found a gathering of Christians, expressing praise to God through song.

What continues to fascinate me is that as I got closer to the source of the singing, I began to hear distinct voices. When I in the middle of that group, I could begin to make out this person’s tenor and that person’s alto. I could hear that this man was singing melody and that woman was singing the matching harmony. That song was made up of many voices and many parts, each person contributing his or her part to the whole.

Many individuals, but one people with one voice. It’s a beautiful, wondrous thing.

And it was this corporate dimension to singing, this one voice, that I neglected. So much of the beauty of singing praises to God is experiencing a hundred people, or a thousand people, praising God all together in one voice. There is much we do as individuals in the corporate worship services, but there is also this dimension of gathering as a group, as a body, as a single spiritual organism. Singing is something we do together. We sing to encourage one another, we sing to teach and admonish one another, but ultimately, we sing so we can praise God together, as God’s people. Many individuals, but one people with one voice. It’s a beautiful, wondrous thing.”

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