The Francis Asbury Society

FACE TO FACE: Intimate Moments with God 5/23

Posted on | May 22, 2015 | Comments Off on FACE TO FACE: Intimate Moments with God 5/23

Scripture reading: Exodus 15:19–21

Grace Notes

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. (Colossians 3:16)

Nearly everyone who has ever attended church has struggled at one time or another with the music. The complaints are legion: “It’s such poor quality, I can’t bear it,” or perhaps, “It’s just too professional: I feel like a spectator at a performance,” or the more generic, “I just don’t like it.” Others grumble that they don’t know the tunes, they don’t like the style, they don’t want drums on the platform, they think it is too loud, etc.

“Worship wars” have been a part of church life for centuries. Whether one is talking about Gregorian chants, pipe organs, four-part harmony, dancing, or words on a screen, people get upset when someone tampers with the music in church! Charles Spurgeon is reported to have named the Music Committee in his church “The War Department.”

Few people did more to introduce musical innovations to worship than John and Charles Wesley. Singing was a huge part of the eighteenth-century revival they helped to lead. The Wesley brothers knew that the question that really mattered in worship music was not “Did we like it?” but rather, “Did we connect with God?” In 1761 John Wesley wrote out some Directions for Singing which he included in the preface of the Methodist hymnal. I find his instructions to be both humorous and surprisingly relevant even after 250 years!

1. Learn these tunes before you learn any others; afterwards learn as many as you please.
2. Sing them exactly as they are printed here, without altering or mending them at all; and if you have learned to sing them otherwise, unlearn it as soon as you can.
3. Sing all. See that you join with the congregation as frequently as you can. Let not a slight degree of weakness or weariness hinder you. If it is a cross to you, take it up, and you will find it a blessing.
4. Sing lustily and with a good courage. Beware of singing as if you were half dead, or half asleep; but lift up your voice with strength. Be no more afraid of your voice now, nor more ashamed of its being heard, than when you sung the songs of Satan.
5. Sing modestly. Do not bawl, so as to be heard above or distinct from the rest of the congregation, that you may not destroy the harmony; but strive to unite your voices together, so as to make one clear melodious sound.
6. Sing in time. Whatever time is sung be sure to keep with it. Do not run before nor stay behind it . . . and take care not to sing too slow. This drawling way naturally steals on all who are lazy; and it is high time to drive it out from us, and sing all our tunes just as quick as we did at first.
7. Above all sing spiritually. Have an eye to God in every word you sing. Aim at pleasing him more than yourself, or any other creature. In order to do this attend strictly to the sense of what you sing, and see that your heart is not carried away with the sound, but offered to God continually; so shall your singing be such as the Lord will approve here, and reward you when he comes in the clouds of heaven.

When we offer a contemporary worship service
for the younger people and a traditional worship
service for the older people, we are not only feeding
tribalism (which is a toxic form of racism), but
we are saying that the Gospel can’t successfully
bring these two different groups together.
—Tullian Tchividjian

point to ponder • Worship is meant to unite the church, not to divide it.

prayer focus • After praying that those who plan and practice will have open hearts to the Holy Spirit, write a note of thanks and encouragement to your church’s worship leader.


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