When you hear that, you might think, "That sounds lame. I hate singing." Or maybe you think, "Hymns? Borrrring." To clarify, "hymn" doesn't mean we'll just sing all old songs. We'll probably do some of both. There's a place for both, but that isn't so much what this post is about. That said, don't let the word "hymn" keep you from coming.
What I want to touch on here is the place of singing as a church and particularly singing together as a community.
What we learn here is that there are 2 directions our singing takes as a church community: Horizontal and Vertical.
The vertical direction of singing is "to God." Our songs of praise, confession, and supplication are fundamentally God-directed. That's why singing often gets called "Praise and Worship" (although I would submit it can actually be unhealthy to just call singing "worship" but I will touch on that at a later time). It's the emoting side of song. It's what we are doing with the songs.
The horizontal direction of singing is "one another" (and throw yourself into that mix of "one another" as well). Our songs of praise, confession, and supplication are also integrally people-directed. They teach and admonish with the word and wisdom of Christ. It's the formation side of song. It's what the songs are doing to us (or more accurately what God is doing to us through the songs).
The vertical direction of singing is intuitive. What can be less intuitive is the horizontal element.
You see, even in the midst of song, you are both receiving and responding. You may think of songs mainly as a response to God. But since the Gospel teaches us that we must first receive from God before we can respond to God, then it's healthy for us to think this way about our songs.
It's great to shout praises or whisper lament to God in song but the beauty of your shouts and laments are formed by the their correlation with and overflow from the word and wisdom of Christ.
So, join us this Sunday evening where we get to enjoy this one, of many, ways to worship God. Singing isn't just for those who feel like responding to God. Come to simply receive from those around you. And maybe, just maybe you'll be formed in a new way that induces a shout of praise or a whisper of lament to God.