The rarest harmonies of music are nothing unless they are sincerely consecrated to God by hearts sanctified by the Spirit. The cleric says, “Let us sing to the praise of and glory of God,” but the choir often sing to the praise and glory of themselves. Oh when shall our service of song be a pure offering? Jesus loves the public praises of the saints. It would be wickedness on our part to despise the twos and threes; but, on the other hand, let not the little companies snarl at the greater assemblies as though they were necessarily less pure and less approved, for Jesus loves the praise of the great congregation. He dedicates himself anew to the carrying out of the divine purpose in fulfillment of his vows made in anguish. Did our Lord when he ascended to the skies proclaim amid the redeemed in glory the goodness of Jehovah? And was that the vow meant here? Undoubtedly the publication of the Gospel is the constant fulfillment of covenant engagements. Messiah vowed to build up a spiritual temple for the Lord, and he will surely keep his word. ~On the Psalms
There has been so much division in the body of Christ this last week and my heart has been stretched thin with grief. I’ve wondered whose glory we are seeking and whose example we are following. Why has the melody of praise turned to a cacophony of dissonance? Have we not tasted and seen that the Lord is good?
One thing we cannot be deceived about: we are people created for the praise of our Messiah. It’s our job to praise. The Father draws. The Son redeems. The Spirit convicts of sin and leads us into what is true about God and ourselves (and that doesn’t come all at once). We sing the songs in response to the excellency of God’s work so they will know the love of the Father is kind, and the work of the Son is sufficient to purify and approve, and the ministry of the Spirit is good.
So if we are going to make noise, may we please please please sing a song that makes redemption’s melody as beautiful as we have known it to be. Because if we start making too much noise about who and what and how, we can too easily become nothing more than “the choir singing praise and glory to themselves” with little thought to how or even if Jesus is being praised. Yes, he is praised by what we believe (let it reflect his holiness and truth), but he is also praised by how we behave (let it reflect his love and grace).
I am sinner who is by grace learning to sing his praise. I’ve a good hunch you are too. Let us not forget that “Jesus loves the praise of the great congregation.” Who is this great congregation? Those in daily need of his grace and rescue from sin. Those who aren’t looking across the aisle to measure themselves on the scales of the other’s sin, but those who together–from every tribe and nation–raise their eyes and voices to proclaim, “What a beautiful Savior.”