When I first went to my church six months ago, my heart was shattered.
Within the span of 36 hours, a relationship I thought would end in marriage didn’t, I left a church community that I had been fighting to make work for almost two years, and some major changes were going on at work. Everything I knew was crumpled up and thrown into a trash can.
Since then I’ve found peace regarding the way things have turned out, but my heart held a lot of intense, unlovely emotions as I walked up to a church I had only visited once before my old church launched.
I was angry. I was confused. I felt defeated. No one would’ve blamed me for staying at home, curling up in my bed and eating all of the dairy-free ice cream my heart desired. But I knew Jesus was the only one who could provide true comfort … even if I was surrounded by complete strangers. So I walked in late and sat in the back.
My church follows an intentional liturgy for every service, which includes elements of adoration, confession/lament, and assurance of grace. I felt like I was living in a constant state of lamentation so that part of the service came naturally, but I really didn’t feel like recognizing the other elements of the service.
I walked in with my heart hardened by anger, hurt and rejection from what felt like all sides, but that changed once the worship leaders began playing the first song, “All I Have is Christ” by Sovereign Grace Music.
My heart instantly softened and I turned into a puddle of tears. That’s not an exaggeration. I don’t think I ever stopped crying that first service; I was crying so hard that I physically couldn’t sound out any of the words. Well, I think I was able to get one word out. But only one.
It was like that for a solid month.
Even though I was physically unable to sing, my brothers and sisters in Christ in the room with me could and they were singing their hearts out. I continued to stand beside them crying mine out.
“But be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs.” Ephesians 5:18-19, ESV
Paul urged the followers of Christ in Ephesus to not be foolish, but instead to be filled with the Holy Spirit. How? By “addressing one another” through song.
He expands this idea further in his letter to Colossae. He says that we can teach and encourage each other through singing psalms and hymns and that by doing so the word of Christ will dwell in the church richly (Colossians 3:16).
Singing songs aloud is a powerful opportunity to minister to our brothers and sisters around us. Singing biblically based songs corporately not only reminds our own hearts of the truths coming out of our mouths, but it also reminds our neighbors’ hearts.
It is as if you are patting your neighbor on the back and saying, “Keep heart. God is good, He loves you, and He’s coming back soon.” It’s an opportunity to show God’s love to those sitting in the pew next to you after all Jesus said they would know us by our love (John 13:35).
I can’t express how true this was for me that first month or so at my current church. My heart was crumbling, but my neighbors were reminding me of the truths my heart needed to hear through song. They were unknowingly spurring me on to find comfort in God and I am forever thankful for that.
So to the person who thinks they don’t need to sing aloud in church, I urge you to reconsider. Take part in the community that God so clearly built us for.
I don’t know your reasons, but there may be someone in the room whose heart is shattered and needs you to sing until they’re able to themselves.
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