Church Music; December 16, 2021


Psalm 118:14 The Lord is my strength and my song;
he has become my salvation.

For once there is no variance whatsoever between the English and the Japanese, at least in the translations I have in front of me. Checking online, I find that the latest version of the NIV changes that to “my strength and my defense.” That ruins the whole thing for me! The Bible, and specifically Psalms, speaks many times of God being our strength, and it speaks even more about singing to God. It is perfectly logical that the Psalmist would say this here. As David says in Psalm 40:3, “He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God.” Singing is a natural response to the awareness of God and His goodness. Countless believers over the years have discovered that when they sing to God, His strength wells up within them, whatever their circumstances. Every era in Church history has had its songs, its music. In the current era, with the technological ease of both making music and disseminating it via the Internet, there has been an explosion of new music, some anointed and some not. The point is not to make music because it’s fun – though it is – or because it’s new, but because it’s an expression of our heart to God. It has been rightly said that you can tell the theology of a church by what they sing. We do well to think about what we sing and why, so that our hearts would be rightly focused on our Savior and Lord in every way.

As I have written before, I am hugely blessed to have been raised in a very musical family that was also a family of faith. Some of my best memories are of being gathered around the piano singing hymns, in 4-part harmony. Musical skill, though a blessing, isn’t the most important thing, however. I think that singing had a lot to do with grounding me in faith, even though my adherence to that faith wasn’t perfect. It wasn’t until I was introduced to the Charismatic Movement in the early ‘70s that the whole world of “new music” burst on me, and I reveled in it. Today I love both old songs and new. I will confess to having some preferences in style, but the important point is the heart, the Spirit, behind each song. I have been aware of God’s anointing on a wide variety of music! I am to be a good steward of my musical gifts, but most importantly, I am to so live, act, and sing so that others may be drawn to sing to God as well, in humble adoration, for their blessing and His glory.

Father, thank You for this reminder. I won’t be singing for the audience today, but I will be singing in each of the three class Christmas parties that are coming up. May I not show off, but rather let Your strength be manifested through my songs, drawing my hearers to You, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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