Thursday, January 14, 2010

Sing With the Understanding

I heard once about a woman who spent some months serving as a missionary in South Africa. On her final visit to a remote township she attended a medical clinic. As the Zulu women there began to sing together, she found herself deeply moved by their hauntingly beautiful harmonies. She wanted to always remember this moment and try to share it with friends when she arrived home. With tears flowing down her cheeks, she turned to her friend and asked, "Can you please tell me the translation of the words to this song?"

Her friend looked at her and solemnly replied . . . "If you boil the water, you won't get dysentery."

How many times have we been guilty of the same thing in our worship to God? Not of singing that particular song, but of singing without being aware of the meaning of the words we were singing.

It seems to me that singing songs of praise is like driving a car. If you drive, you’ve learned that if you follow the same route day after day, it is possible for you to make the trip without even thinking about what you’re doing. We’ve all had the scary feeling of arriving at a location realizing that we “zoned out” en route and made the trip while our mind was on “autopilot.”

Many of us have had the same experience in our worship. We sing all the songs (like we’ve done countless times before) but our mind is on “autopilot” and after we’ve finished, we don’t have a clue what we just sang about.

Paul said, "I will pray with the spirit, and I will also pray with the understanding. I will sing with the spirit, and I will also sing with the understanding." (I Cor. 14:15)

For those of us who are easily distracted, it requires a bit more effort, but may we resolve to strive to pay attention to the words that we are singing. May the songs of praise we sing truly come from a heart that exalts God!

1 comment:

  1. I agree it is easy to forget what we are singing unless we put our mind into it. Do we really mean what we are singing. Do we really mean "All to Jesus I surender",or "Have thine own way Lord"? Singing isn't the only part of the worship that we tend to zone out. How many times have you heard a person say what a wonderful sermon, only to not remember what it was about thirty minutes later at lunch. I take notes of the sermon to really hear what the preacher is saying. Later I can go back and review and check my notes. Then if I have a question about it I have a foundation to ask it from.
    I guess the old saying is true, you only get out of something what you put into it. If you want to truly benefit from the song service, pay attention to the words. Mean what you sing.