Columbia, SC 29205
One Service @ 10:30 AM
Because we want every small group to be well supplied for making disciples of each other and our city. And those supplies can only come from a life-giving, wholehearted relationship with the God who is alive and at work in us. That’s what I wrote last time.
We left off with a question: Can a worship song honestly help us—or hurt us—in our mission to each other and our city? My answer is yes. And not only can songs to that; they must necessarily shape us one way or another. If that’s right, then what we sing in community affects our mission so profoundly that we’ve got to care about our songs.
That idea isn’t foreign to the Bible. Consider Psalm 115, where God’s people celebrate his real and living power to help them. In contrast, the gods of other religions are imaginary and dead (Psalm 115:1-7). If that challenge weren’t direct enough, the God-inspired writer applies that point in this way: “Those who make them become like them; so do all who trust in them” (Psalm 115:8).
In one verse, the psalmist sums up the danger of failing to know and worship God. If we create and lean on anything but God to give meaning and security, our lives grow more and more imaginary and lifeless. Our lives are oriented toward something or someone; is it real and alive? If so, we become increasingly alive, experiencing the world more as whole people because we experience it with a real-and-living-God orientation. What you worship and how you worship matters, both in this life and the one to come.
But notice the important but subtle wording: those who worship and trust in false gods become like the objects of their worship. The deadening of their souls doesn’t happen overnight—it’s a progressive, gradual process. Isn’t that just what God says about our own growth in imitating him—that the transformation isn’t instant but rather “from one degree of glory to another” as we fix our gaze on Jesus’ glory for the long haul (2 Corinthians 3:18)?
That’s the point: We are all, each of us, becoming like what we worship. So how important is it for us to consider what we’re looking to for “hope and happiness, significance and security” (New City Catechism, Question 17)? Do our real, everyday lives reveal that we look to the God and Father of Jesus Christ? We must—and in our worship, we do.
If that’s true, does it affect our songs to God? Absolutely. If worship shapes and forms us, then the songs we sing aren’t emotional entertainment or “filler” before the sermon—they are the channels that direct the course of our lives. They shape what we think about God, about ourselves, and about the people around us. The songs we sing together affect our community now and forever.
So then, in light of God’s mercies toward us in Christ, how—or rather, what then—should we sing? We’ll look at that next time.