Sing your song!

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Reflections based on Exodus 15:1–20.

‘I will sing to the Lord, for he is highly exalted. Both horse and driver he has hurled into the sea. The Lord is my strength and my defense; he has become my salvation. He is my God, and I will praise him, my father’s God, and I will exalt him.’

Here Moses and the people sing a song of great victory, giving glory to God for the miraculous crossing of the Red Sea. At the end of the reading we are told that Miriam took up her tambourine and led all the women into their own song and dance.

I just wanted to encourage you today to recognise that we all have a song. Psalm 40:3 says that ‘He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God’ so allow your song to bubble up and sing it out! Too often we can allow ourselves to be silenced, but not so Miriam – and we should be the same.

There will be specific songs for specific times – look in this passage at how their song directly responds to what God has just done for them. When was the last time you sang out a song of thanks to God for an answer to prayer?

Whether you have a good voice or not doesn’t come into it. The Bible refers to incense as ‘sweet smoke’ and it is used to describe our prayers, worship and praise. Indeed 2 Corinthians 2:15 says that ‘we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ’.

Just as Christ’s death on the cross washes us clean of our sins and allows us to come close to our heavenly father, so I believe it turns any out-of-tune, ear-piercing songs into a delightful sound! If you aren’t too sure you agree with me, think about a child doing something for the first time. Whether they have perfected it or not isn’t important – their parents still well up with pride. God is longing to hear your voice today, so won’t you sing to Him with the words He has already placed on your heart?

Meditation/prayer: Spend some time thinking back over what God has done for you in recent months, then let your thankfulness bubble out of you as a song.

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Body ministry

We were at a different church on Sunday. Visiting somewhere else that isn’t your home church, particularly when you are in leadership, can allow you to step back and look at your home church with fresh eyes. There were certain things we really enjoyed – and others that we missed from our ‘home’. One of the latter was the growing instances of contributions from the congregation – starting up songs, bringing prayers and scripture readings, singing spiritual songs and bringing prophecies and words. It made me reflect afresh on the scripture about this: 1 Corinthians 14:26, ‘ 26 What then shall we say, brothers and sisters? When you come together, each of you has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. Everything must be done so that the church may be built up.’  I think the key here is the last phrase ‘so that the church may be built up’. Okay sometimes it can get quite messy – or the contributions take the meeting off course as far as your prepared song list is concerned if you are the worship leader. But surely being family together means that our worship times are times for everyone to contribute. We all have giftings – and all can hear from God. Nowhere in the Bible have I found a reference to the worship leader being in charge, rather it says that when we come together ‘each of’ us has something to bring. I wonder what our churches would be like if every single member of the congregation came to church willing and prepared to contribute… I know as churches get larger the need for more organisation is necessary but I really hope as we grow even more we don’t stifle what the Holy Spirit is doing, don’t dampen people’s enthusiasm for bringing contributions. I so firmly believe in ‘body ministry’ – that we are all priests and God uses us all – and love to see this reflected not only on our Sunday mornings but in the way we care for one another during the week. It isn’t just about bringing a word or scripture on a Sunday morning, but about caring for the various parts of the body day in day out. That is why God has connected us – to look after each other and reach out to the world as one body. We need to make sure we are ministering to one another in a biblical, holistic manner so that we can truly be the body of Christ.

Singing spiritual songs

I referred to a worship conference that we took our team to a while back. One of the seminars I went to was on stepping out into spiritual songs. This is an area I want to grow in as I do do it on occasion. It was really interesting to hear about other people’s experiences and suggestions. I know that one of the things that was said was to simply sing the song and then stop – ie don’t go on too long or the anointing of what you were singing may be dampened. I can totally understand where that point is coming from and can recount instances of when that has happened. However – and this may be down to God’s graciousness to me more than anything else – my own personal experience has been that God gives me the words of the song as I’m singing and I simply stop when the words stop. That happened this Sunday. I often have the start of the song but no more, but this week I just had a little tune and nothing else – but knew I had to sing. I felt like I would literally burst if I didn’t! So I got the guitarist to carry on picking in the background and just went for it. (So unlike me – I usually have my keyboard as my comfort to hide behind!) The song kept coming, and kept flowing, and there was a definite refrain that kept coming back too. It seemed to go on for a long time – it was certainly the longest one I’ve ever sung – but the words were still flowing and still touching people. And then there were no more words so I stopped. I could look back now and dissect the song, decide on the little bits I could have left out, and possibly when I could have stopped earlier. But I find I can’t judge those things at the time – I just sing while I feel the anointing and stop when it feels right to. It is really hard to explain but the song does just simply dry up when it is time to stop. Because it is such a definite ‘start now’ and ‘stop now’ for me, I’m really interested to hear other people’s experiences – as it obviously isn’t the same for everyone. Anyone else got something they can share on this?