As a worship leader, I know two of the biggest purposes behind gathered corporate worship on a Sunday morning are singing God’s praises, and encouraging and edifying one another. And if I’m honest, the former has been easier for me to grasp than the ladder. But leading songs for people who love to sing loud has been showing me the importance of the role of encouragement and edification in our gathered time.
We walk through the doors of church carrying so many things – pressure and stresses of a week lived in a dark world. But when we come together to sing, read, study and spend time with God’s people – it’s an opportunity for a fresh breath, the chance to refocus our heart, mind and life on the only thing that matters. That is what living life in community is all about.
And as you live in community, you get to see up close and personal the highs and low of life for those around you. We walk in to worship having heard and seen first hand throughout the week what God is doing in the hearts and lives of those who sit around you on a Sunday. And when people loudly proclaim lyrics like, ‘You are good, you are good… You are God, You are God, of all else I’m letting go!’ after having lost loved ones that week; those people remind us that God is trustworthy no matter what our circumstances may lead us to believe.
As we see other people growing and changing, it can stir our heart and affection for the God who is accomplishing that change in our brothers and sisters. And as we submit ourselves to the authority of God’s Word, we’re corrected – allowing ourselves to be shaped into God’s image, not the other way around.
And now that we’ve moved to two services on a Sunday morning we have double the opportunity to sing God’s praises, to be encouraged and built up by our fellow believers (actually three if you count Sunday afternoon with the Wirral church plant!). I don’t believe there is anything magical or mystical about music. It doesn’t lead us into God’s presence (only Jesus can do that). But what I’ve seen and experienced is corporate singing’s unique ability to soften hearts to receive and respond to God’s Word.
Living in community is a reminder we’re not in this alone. Even something as simple as singing in unison together can be a visible audible reminder of that truth.
So sing on, sing loud.