I’m sure many of you have heard of “worship wars”: arguments within the church (around the world, not necessarily FirstCov) about what music is more “worshipful”. Should we be singing modern worship songs or hymns? Use a rock band or a gospel choir? Organ or hip-hop? There’s a common saying in the Covenant Church that goes, “Where is it written?” meaning, “What does the Bible say about this?”. So, let‘s take a look at what the Bible says about ways to worship.
Colossians 3:16 says, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God”. We see from this passage that even in the early stages of the Christian faith, they were using a variety of types of songs to worship.
Let’s take a look at how we are following this example in our Sunday worship times:
Psalms: Some examples of the Psalms we sing are “Better is One Day” (Psalm 84), “Forever” (Psalm 118), and “Lord, You are Good” (Psalm 118, Psalm 22:31). Think about it: we are singing lyrics written 3000 years ago!
Hymns: One interesting thing to note is that the Greek word for “hymn” actually means a statement of faith or a statement of what we believe. So, for instance, a song that outlines the things we believe is considered a hymn in the Greek language. Take the song, “Hope of the Nations” that we often sing at FirstCov:
“You rose from the dead, conquering fear – our Prince of Peace, drawing us near. Jesus, our Hope, living for all who will receive – Lord, we believe!”
This is a great example of a hymn by its early definition. Other examples of hymns are “My Redeemer Lives” or “A Mighty Fortress”.
Spiritual Songs: Spiritual Songs are the other songs that aren’t necessarily quotes from the Psalms or statements of belief, but are songs of worship reflecting praise to God. Consider this the catch all category – if it’s not a Psalm or a Hymn, but it’s worshipful, it probably falls under the Spiritual Song category! Some examples of Spiritual Songs we sing are, “Reign in Us”, “It is Well”, “All Creatures of Our God and King” and “Glory of God”.
Isn’t it great to look back at our history and see us worshipping in the same way as Christians 2000 or 3000 years ago did? Sure, the musical arrangement has changed, but the truth remains the same: Our God is the same yesterday, today, and forever!
As you sing songs with us on Sunday mornings (or maybe alone in the shower or in rush hour!), think about how great our God is that His truth spans over millenniums and continents. No matter if we are worshipping with our guitars and drums, or if we used a didgeridoo and throat singing, we are following the example that the early Christians showed us by praising Him through a variety of Psalms, Hymns, and Spiritual Songs.
- Leah Gunderson