In two previously published articles, I discuss my concern for worship in the church today. The first article, Worship During a Pandemic, calls attention to changes forced upon public worship by the pandemic. It presents an important truth that should set the tone for how we approach public worship, a truth lost in controversy throughout church history, i.e., the distinction between Old Testament worship outside the veil and New Testament worship as priests who boldly go through the veil into the Holy of Holies, the church,[i] and who are individually temples of the Holy Spirit.[ii] The second article, The Role of Music in Worship, expounds the doctrine of worship from both Ephesians and Colossians.
In this article, I want to give a personal example of how important worship, specifically singing, is to the Christian experience.
Anita Rasmussen was one of five individuals; she, my wife and I, and one other couple, who planted a new church, Samish Way Baptist Church, in Bellingham, Washington in 1972. She was the widow of a church planting pastor whom the Lord took at a young age.
Not long into the early history of the church, Anita had a massive left-brain stroke that paralyzed her right side and her voice. She could communicate verbally with difficulty, , but was very frustrated.
One time I drove her from her home in Bellingham to Mt. Baker. My purpose was to give her an opportunity get out of the house, to see the beautiful country, but especially to allow her to communicate with me at her pace. You see, she recognized when she tried to speak, others would grow impatient and either try to speak for her or turn away.
Because I was usually in front of the congregation, I seldom had the privilege of sitting or standing next to her during congregational singing. Each time I did, I was amazed at her beautiful voice. You see, she talked with great difficulty, but sang out loud and clear.
I am not an expert on voice or the inner workings of the brain, but it seems that God gave us a unique place in our brains so that we can praise Him in song. Through the years, others have noticed this phenomenon.
As I prepared to write this article, one of several I plan to write regarding worship, it occurred to me to see if there has been any scholarly work on this subject. The first source I checked, while I cannot testify to its accuracy, seems to verify the validity of this truth. The author did my work for me. I took the liberty of copying it and reformatting it for my library and for this article. (Click here to read the article)
It is as if the apostle Paul also read this article before he wrote Ephesians and Colossians. The author highlights why we need to take another look at how and why we worship with song. It must be an integral part of every service if the Body of Christ is to grow strong during these troubled times.
Through congregational singing, we encourage, support, and edify each other. Those who lead in congregational worship need to carefully consider and plan how to do the work of their ministry for Christ.
[i] 1 Cor 3:16.
[ii] 1 Cor 6:19.