Carol Brennan King (May 2020
How deep do you sing? And no, I don’t mean bass. We were watching church Sunday (since we can’t go to church during the time of quarantine) and singing along with the worship team. Suddenly I realized how terribly easy it is to sing the words and melody and not the meaning. All the deep, deep meaning of those words. It was Amazing Grace that we were singing.
Did you ever think all that much about the reality that our songs or choruses are actually gifts to God? Or maybe they are prayers to God.
I was about ten-years-old when my sister, eleven-years-older, gave me a book about the adventures of a group of kids about my age. I can tell you the book had a red cover, and I can tell you about the most important pages because they changed my life. But I cannot remember much else about the book.
Anyway, the boy and girl were talking about singing at church, and one of them counseled the other that hymns and choruses are just prayers to God. And he followed that up with a warning that really stuck to me, “Don’t ever sing something you would not pray or say to God.”
Well, that was a new idea! Or at least it was to me. It made sense to me, so I tried to incorporate that admonition into my life. For one thing, it made me much more thoughtful about what I did sing, whether it was at church, at faith-based conferences, around a campfire, or even at Summit University where I taught for over twenty years.
I still remember singing in chapel one day and paying attention to the words because the song was new to me. All of a sudden, I couldn’t sing anymore. I just wasn’t sure the words were true or right for me. So I stood there and shut up. I don’t think anyone noticed; maybe just me and God. And it was probably OK for everyone else to sing…I couldn’t because I didn’t think I wanted to say those things to God.
How about you? Have you ever found yourself singing along and then realized you had not been thinking about what you were singing? You sang the words alright, but only superficially. Those words were so familiar that you didn’t even have to think about them. Therein lies the conundrum. You were singing pretty shallowly, something I have done many times despite my intentions to avoid that.
It happens most often when it is a familiar hymn or chorus. Maybe even one you love the melody to, like Be Thou My Vision. Perhaps so much that like me, you can sing it without thinking, it is that deeply ingrained in your mind.
But singing deep means that you notice the words, what they are saying to God, whether you mean them to or not.
Back to Amazing Grace and that second phrase. That saved a wretch like me. I still have to stop at that line. God saved me. He sent me to a neighborhood Bible class, the kind kids go to because it gives them something to do in the summer, and there might be games and maybe cookies.
I had been Sunday Schooled practically since I was born, but I never heard that Jesus died to save me, to bear the punishment for all of my sins. A wretch? When I think about it honestly, I have no idea of all of the terrible choices I might have made in my life were it not for a desire to please God, or again honestly, not to have God find me making those bad choices.
A wretch? Only God and I know exactly how much of a wretch I could be and have been. And He still loved me. That’s what grace is…His love in spite of my wretchedness.
I once was lost but now am found
Was blind, but now, I see.
It is true. When I sing deeply these words, sometimes I find it difficult to sing on. God moved our family into town for two years. It was there in town that I heard that I sinned and I heard that God saved me anyway. All He wanted was for me to accept the gift of salvation by believing in the truth He revealed to me…that He loved me that much. Check out John 3:16.
Anyway, this section of my blog is titled Bits and Pieces, and these words are just part of all the bits and pieces that make up my life philosophy. I mattered to God that much that He gave me an opportunity to join His family. Now I love Him back and I want that to show…I want to sing deep, even if no one else hears me. It’s probably good that no one hears me.
How about you? How deep do you sing, and how come?