“What Can I Sing?”
After almost four decades of following Jesus and being in church I have found that just about anywhere I go, since my childhood to this day, there are issues with singing. One of the biggest issues is: “what can we sing?” Some in the Church have a problem with singing certain music. I have heard people say, “Pastor we should only sing from the hymnal.” Does that expression sound familiar? Others complain about the new music. So what can we sing?
Sing something that blesses God and that blesses you. I love the hymnal and I grew up singing from two different hymn books: the Himnario Adventista and the Adventist Hymnal. Up to this day my favorite song is Mas Alla del Sol (Way Beyond the Sun, in the Spanish Adventist Hymn Book) and it is my kids favorite song, both can sing it by heart. As I look through our Adventist Hymnal I see there are hymns from the XVI, XVII, XVIII, XIX, & XX Century and I love singing those hymns. The latest hymn in the Adventist Hymnal is Because He Lives written in 1971 by the Gaithers, that’s a year before I was born. The latest hymn written by an Adventist in the hymnal is “We Have This Hope” (1962), exactly ten years before I was born, and almost 50 years ago.
When I see this I wonder, did the Holy Spirit die with Wayne Hooper? Did the Holy Spirit stop inspiring Christian composers in 1971? The answer is NO. The Holy Spirit is still alive today, the Holy Spirit still inspires Christian writers today. Of course, the Hymns of the XXI century sound different because we are longer in the XVI century, we are in the XXI century. One thing you can be sure, the same Holy Spirit who inspired people before this century, still inspires people to compose for God today. The classic hymns of today are the contemporary Christian Songs of the XVI, XVII, XVIII, XIX, & XX century. If the world lasts much more, one day, our contemporary hymns of the XXI century will be regarded as the classics. So what do we sing? Sing a song or a hymn, whether from the XVI century or the XXI Century that blesses God and that blesses you, but please do Sing.
So, you would ask, is it OK to sing new Christian songs?
“Praise the LORD.
Sing to the LORD a new song,
his praise in the assembly of his faithful people.” (Psalm 149:1)
The Bible encourages us many times to sing a New Song while it does not condemn the singing of an Old Song. After the Second Coming of Jesus, in heaven, I would like to sing some of our classic hymns. We’ll get to sing some new songs, which are not in the hymnal, like the Living Creatures and the Twenty-four Elders (Revelation 5:9). Can you imagine when we start singing the Song of Moses and the Lamb right on the Sea of Glass (Revelation 15:2-4)?
So what can we sing? If you like old hymns, sing; if you like new hymns, sing. If you like hymns, sing; if you like Psalms, sing, if you like Spiritual songs, sing; if you like Wayne Hooper, sing, if you like the Gaithers sing, if you like Michael W. Smith, sing; if like Kirk Franklin, sing; Israel Houghton, sing; Darlene Zschech, sing; but above all things if you love God sing; but please don’t sit there acting pious and criticizing everybody else who is singing. Sing because God inhabits the Praise of His People!
Prayer: God, I am so grateful because you inhabit the praise of your people. Thank you for the old classic hymns and for the new contemporary hymns, thanks for you have given every generation a voice and the Holy Spirit has given every age a tune and a rhythm to praise YOU. More than anything, thank you because even in heaven we will sing and praise you for what you are doing and will continue to do. Today, I praise you God. AMEN