Tag Archives: sing

Why They Don’t Sing on Sunday Anymore

As you search the internet it is amazing how many articles you can find on this subject. What strikes me about them is that my experience confirms what they say. And while some may want to say that we are making an issue over contemporary vs traditional, I think they miss the point. The reasons that Thom Schultz gives in his article are clearly not a stylistic preference issue, but an issue of application and presentation. (Schultz does a fair job of further explaining this in his follow-up article listed at the end.) It is this application of the music that has driven people from their involvement, not the style of music. People want to be engaged in the worship and not simply observers, but to often the music is presented in such a way that it discourages people from joining in. Maybe it is time we re-evaluate how we are presenting the music portion of the worship service, and some times the rest of the service as well.

Holy Soup

Looking around the church last Sunday I noticed that the majority weren’t singing. And most of those who were singing barely moved their lips. The only voices I actually heard were those on stage with microphones.

That’s been the case for years now–in churches large and small. What used to be congregational singing has become congregational staring.

Even when the chipper “worship leader” in contemporary churches bounds on stage and predictably beckons everyone to “stand and worship,” the people compliantly obey the stand command, but then they turn into mute mannequins.

What’s behind this phenomenon? What happened to the bygone sounds of sanctuaries overflowing with fervent, harmonizing voices from the pews, singing out with a passion that could be heard down the street? I suspect it’s a number of unfortunate factors.

Spectator set-up. Increasingly, the church has constructed the worship service as a spectator event. Everyone expects the people on stage to…

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Born That Man No More May Die

Hark! The herald angels sing,
“Glory to the newborn King;
Peace on earth, and mercy mild,
God and sinners reconciled!”
Joyful, all ye nations rise,
Join the triumph of the skies;
With th’angelic host proclaim,
“Christ is born in Bethlehem!”
Hark! the herald angels sing,
“Glory to the newborn King!”

Christ, by highest Heav’n adored;
Christ the everlasting Lord;
Late in time, behold Him come,
Offspring of a virgin’s womb.
Veiled in flesh the Godhead see;
Hail th’incarnate Deity,
Pleased as man with men to dwell,
Jesus our Emmanuel.
Hark! the herald angels sing,
“Glory to the newborn King!”

Hail the heav’nly Prince of Peace!
Hail the Sun of Righteousness!
Light and life to all He brings,
Ris’n with healing in His wings.
Mild He lays His glory by,
Born that man no more may die.
Born to raise the sons of earth,
Born to give them second birth.
Hark! the herald angels sing,
“Glory to the newborn King!”

Come, Desire of nations, come,
Fix in us Thy humble home;
Rise, the woman’s conqu’ring Seed,
Bruise in us the serpent’s head.
Now display Thy saving power,
Ruined nature now restore;
Now in mystic union join
Thine to ours, and ours to Thine.
Hark! the herald angels sing,
“Glory to the newborn King!”

Adam’s likeness, Lord, efface,
Stamp Thine image in its place:
Second Adam from above,
Reinstate us in Thy love.
Let us Thee, though lost, regain,
Thee, the Life, the inner man:
O, to all Thyself impart,
Formed in each believing heart.
Hark! the herald angels sing,
“Glory to the newborn King!”

Words by Charles Wesley, 1739
Music by Felix Mendelsshon, 1840

 


And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

“Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
Luke 2:8 – 14

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
John 1:1

Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.
John 17:24

Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.
Isaiah 7:14

Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.”

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
John 3:3, 16


 

Have you ever noticed how quickly the news of a babies birth can spread. It seems that everyone wants to be the person to deliver the message. And why not? Look at the reaction that people have to the news. There is such joy and excitement in the faces of the people as they hear the news. The overwhelming desire to share the news of a newborn babe is what lies behind the song “Hark the Herald Angels Sing.”

Based on the declaration of the angels in Luke 2:8 – 14, Charles Wesley presents us with the picture of those who must share the birth of no mere child but the birth of a King. He writes, “Christ, by highest Heav’n adored, Christ the everlasting Lord.” This child, this King that is adored by the angels themselves is none other than “Christ, the everlasting Lord.” He is the eternal God who existed before the world. (John 1:1, 17:24)

The excitement of this news can not be contained. The world waited so long for his birth. 700 years earlier the Prophet Isaiah had predicted His coming when he said in Isaiah 7:14, “The Lord will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.” It is a sign to the world that this is no ordinary child, He is “the incarnate deity”, God made flesh. He is Immanuel, God with us.

But the joy of the news continues to grow for He was “Born that man no more may die. Born to raise the sons of earth, Born to give them second birth.” This draws us to the truth found in John chapter 3.  Verse 16 tells us, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” It is through belief in Christ alone that we can find eternal life.  Through him we need no longer fear death. This is the “second birth” we find described in John 3:3 where “Jesus replied, ‘Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.’”

This is the message the angels declared to the shepherds, “God and sinners reconciled!” This is the message that continues to ring through the ages.  God himself was born of a virgin.  He came that we might believe in him and know eternal life. So just as the angels were compelled to share the news, may we too share it with the world and joyously declare, “Glory to the newborn King!”

 

 

Read more about “Hark the Herald Angels Sing.”