The Final Set (and all it's dramas)
Tuesday, June 05, 2007
For a while, let's forget about singing together in the middle of our meeting. I want to focus on the song(s) we do after the sermon.
Historically, there have been many who have shied away from singing after the sermon because they believe it takes away from the message that the congregation have just heard. Ideally, for these people, church-goers will leave church with God's word on their hearts and won't be distracted by singing a song afterward.
I think that this can be true if the song that is sung is unrelated to the sermon. That is the power of song. A 45 minute sermon can be forgotten in a 3 minute song.
But ...a 3 minute song can cement an idea heard in a sermon just as effectively. This is the first reason why I believe it's important to sing after hearing God's word. If done correctly, it can be a tool in helping people retain an idea of what the sermon was about for longer.
The second reason why I think it is important to sing after hearing God's word is that this is the pattern for singing in the Bible. We sing to God and to each other in response to God revealing himself to us. We can't praise God until we know him. As we see more of him, our hearts are ignited to worship him with our lives - and our singing. This is the biblical pattern for praise.
So, while I think it is good to sing at the beginning of church, singing praise to God and being joyful and thankful as a body is much more meaningful after God has spoken through his word in the sermon. How often have you just heard a sermon that reminded you of your need to throw yourself on Christ because he alone can save you and then sung a song like 'In Christ Alone' and it has meant so much more to you. When we sing in response to God's word, our affections are stirred to match what our head is thinking through.
The question that remains for me is... should we only sing one song so that we aren't too distracted or should we sing more because this is the prime time for singing? The answer is easy. Mix it up. Sometimes it will be appropriate for the singing to extend after the sermon. Other times it is difficult to find a song that matches clearly with what has been taught and so to do more than one song would be a stretch. Perhaps at these times it might be more appropriate to have extended prayer rather than singing. Too often, churches fall into an outline rut. There is a fear of change from the way things have always been done. We are blessed at our church to have a ministry team who are not governed by traditional outlines, but are more interested in serving the church in the best way possible. It is important to be flexible.
P.S photo is related because samurai films have extended endings
PPS. 'Seven Samurai' is the greatest film ever made. I stole it from my new brother-in-law.
Posted byDan at 8:26 PM