Sing to Each Other

When you meet together, each one has a psalm, a teaching, a revelation, a tongue, or an interpretation. All these things must be done to build up the church. 

Speak to each other with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs; sing and make music to the Lord in your hearts.

The word of Christ must live in you richly. Teach and warn each other with all wisdom by singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. Sing to God with gratitude in your hearts.
-1 Corinthians 14:26, Ephesians 5:19, Colossians 3:16 (CEB)

I thought about this song by The Carpenters:
Sing, sing a song
Sing out loud
Sing out strong
That song admonishes everyone to sing.  I thought of titling this post, "shut up and sing".  What if we sang more in church or when we gathered, whether in twos and threes; or with hundreds?  I do not have in mind longer song services, worship sets, or times; but the "each other" mentioned in these two verses, that are describing gatherings.

What is the purpose of the church gathering or the gathering, assembling, or congregating of the people in Christ?  The purpose is mutual edification.  Most people get that we are edified or supposed to get edified when we gather with one another.

Mutual means it goes both ways.  The edification flows back and forth, all around and throughout the group, small group or big group.  The phrase "each other" or "each one", means there is a back and forth and everyone plays.  The first churches were places where everyone could speak and sing.

Why singing?  There is a place for listening, there is a place for reading, and there is a place for talking or sharing in life.  But what is the place of singing?  Similar to laughter, singing is very good for our bodies and souls.

Singing:
  • Reduces stress and improves mood.
  • Lowers blood pressure.
  • Boosts the immune system.
  • Improves breathing.
  • Reduces perceived pain.
  • Promotes learning in children.
  • Promotes communal bonding.
The observation that the secular world loves music and song also gives us a clue.  We also learn in scripture that Satan was heaven's worship leader.  He might know something about the power of song.  Where there is the negative, on the flip-side there is the positive.

What if the church followed Ephesians 5:19 and had multiple people or all of us singing to each other?

If the gathering is larger, and there is a band or designated leaders; how can we keep it from feeling like a concert?  The stage, mics, lights, video, and fog machines tend to do that.  We become spectators.  For me, I need to get in the front three rows in order to engage, but we all can not do that, if there are more than 30 people there.

I got the idea from Brian Doerksen of, "level ground", where the worship leader(s) and the congregants are all on the same level.  Unless you are standing near the leader, you may not be able to see him or her, but you can see all the people around you.

The stage and the theater seating remind us all of going to a place to be entertained, to consume passively and anonymously.  When we turn out the lights, except on the performers leaders, then mutual edification is done for.

Mark Harland said this:
"...the church has stopped singing.  While the congregation is left in the dark under dim lights, stage lights place the focus on the gifted worship leader – or worship artist  – who has in-ear monitors and who sings songs in a key that best fits him or her...  The worship leader can't hear the congregation or see the congregation and "they don't even know that the congregation is not even singing,"
Dave Murrow wrote this:
As I visit churches around the country, I’ve frequently observed that the majority of attendees do not sing. They stand motionless, looking at the words on the jumbo screen. It’s particularly noticeable in so called seeker-friendly congregations. I’d guess that only a quarter of the men sing.
Dave Murrow also wrote this:
It happened again yesterday. I attended one of those hip, contemporary churches — and almost no one sang. Worshipers stood obediently as the band rocked out, the smoke machine belched and lights flashed. Lyrics were projected on the screen, but almost no one sang them. A few women were trying, but I saw only one male (other than the worship leader) making the attempt. 
We feel pleasure from the music and singing, if we can get into it. We might go vertical and feel close to God and God does receive that worship and there is a blessing in it. But there is no horizontal, which is what I see in Ephesians, Colossians, and 1 Corinthians.

I have connected with God through worshiping in the gathering.  But, one day, it dawned on me that it was strange that there was no horizontal connection.  Where are the "each one's" and "each other's"?  Where is the mutual edification?

Perhaps singing, worship, and praise is an area where God is not done reforming the church.  We need revival, renewal, restoration, and reformation.  


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