Thursday, December 23, 2010

When Does The Church Sing TO One Another?

...but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs,... Ephesians 5:18b-19a

Okay, I know that this verse continues with, "singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord;" but I wanted to concentrate on the snip above, as it appears grammatically distinct from the rest of the verse. Paul tells the church at Ephesus to speak to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs. Does this mean sing to one another? What does it mean to speak to one another using music?

I have contemplated this for a while now, and I came up with a few interesting thoughts about singing to others. Small children love for their parents to sing to them, especially at bedtime. Women want their beau to serenade them. Crooners have gained success because their female audience believes the crooner is singing to them. The elderly love to hear children sing to them. People often enjoy opening their doors to Christmas carolers as they sing to them. Some people love to have "Happy Birthday" sung to them. Rock concert audiences love the group singing to them. Life seems full of examples where people gain emotionally or spiritually from being the target of singing.

Yet, when do we do this in the church? We seem content to sing to God, and seem content that God enjoys when his people sing to him. Yet, the idea of singing to the congregation or to individuals in the congregation or even to one another gets immediately branded as "entertainment," and has no place in the church. Why is this, especially in light of the above passage?

So, I'm asking these questions. Does the verse above teach singing to one another? If so, why don't we do it? And if so, when are we supposed to do it? If not, what does it mean? Anybody have anything they've encountered on this?

1 comment:

  1. If you are asking saints who have only sat in a pew singing towards a platform, or in a room where the musicians are playing so loud you can barely hear yourself sing, then there will be great confusion. It's better to just move on and ignore this instruction of "Spirit filling".

    This cannot be understood with just the academic or cerebral parts of us. It must be driven by the Spirit because it is His filling that produces it. We must do the obvious things:
    1. Expect fellow believers to come together having selected songs they want to sing to you and the others.
    2. They tell you why they want to sing it.
    3. You sing it, looking at each other, considering the words of the song deeply.
    4. You respond to that saint and to the others with what you learned.

    It is very difficult to describe because it is a highly participative dynamic - the exact opposite of congregational singing driven by an expert and zero personal expression from any believer to another.

    It is not off the cuff. It is prepared ahead of time. Heb. 10:24,25 says "Let us consider how we can spur one another on to love and good works..." We must contemplate and meditate ahead of time on how God wants us to build up the other members of the body.

    It flows from "abiding in Christ" all six days since the previous gathering. This is 24/7 church.

    This is not easy. It is a battle with the flesh all week long. It is very intimate, mutual, and sometimes rebuking. It is amazingly simple. A child can do it.