by Mike McHugh
As the human race moves deeper into the twenty-first century, it often appears to be in a headlong pursuit to destroy itself as fast as possible. The love of many has grown cold, as families and communities struggle just to survive in the wake of fractured relationships and increasing violence. Could it be that modern Americans, with all of their sophistication and high-tech gadgets, have lost the ability to relate to each other on a personal level? If the answer to this question is yes, then it is proper to also ask, “What can be done to bring families and communities together again?
The answer, I believe, lies principally in parents reviving the old practice of family worship and family singing. History teaches us that the family that worships together on a regular basis invariably experiences a greater level of spiritual vitality, and it is stronger families, after all, that create stronger communities. Although it is sometimes difficult to push aside the clamor of the world and its alluring toys for the simple pleasure of singing with loved ones, those parents who make this commitment will be greatly rewarded.
It was Martin Luther who stated the following concerning the value of music in the life of God’s people “… next to the Word of God, the noble art of music is the greatest treasure in the world.”
The gift of music is a wonderful treasure indeed! Countless homes have been blessed over the centuries by songs of worship and praise to Almighty God, and by songs that remind us of the value of friendship, love, and freedom. It is through the singing of songs and hymns that God often chooses to unite hearts and kindle deeper sentiments of affection within the souls of His creatures. The fact that some churches and many families seldom take the time to sing hymns together, may help to explain why there is such a proliferation of superficial relationships within Christendom. When the happy exercise of singing is neglected at home, the inhabitants of the dwelling should expect to experience a lack of vitality in their relationships one with another.
The following seven points summarize the key benefits of hymn singing for each family member.
- Singing hymns of praise to God promotes unity whenever two or more are gathered together to lift up their voices as one sound unto the Lord. ( 2 Chronicles 5:11-14 )
- Hymns help us in our worship of God, on both a personal and corporate level. (Matthew 26:26-30; Psalm 100:1-4 )
- Singing spiritual songs from the heart helps the people of God to be strengthened by the Holy Spirit in the inner man. ( Ephesians 5:17-21 )
- The Lord inhabits the praises of His people and has ordained that His children make a joyful noise. ( Psalm 66:1-4; Psalm 22:1-4 )
- God uses hymns to transmit courage and spiritual strength to His people so they can withstand trials or temptations. Paul and Silas sang while in prison. ( Acts 16:16-32 )
- Singing hymns is excellent preparation for the life to come, for the saints of God will be praising the Lord for all eternity. ( Revelation 15:1-4 )
- Sacred music has the God-given capacity to reach the hearts of people and affect their emotions and spirits. ( 1 Samuel 16:13-23; James 5:13 )
Parents who do take the effort to incorporate family worship and singing into their family’s routine will reap many spiritual benefits, and will also discover that this exercise is a genuine source of good old-fashioned fun. As an act of faith, why not turn off the television for one hour and gather the family together around the piano or guitar? You have nothing to lose by getting away from the sofa for a hour, except perhaps, an inch or two off your waistline!
One of several great resources that families can use to get them into the routine of family worship and hymn singing is entitled the Family Worship Hymnal. This hymnal contains a great variety of classic hymn favorites, along with selected Scripture readings and articles on the importance of family worship. The Family Worship Hymnal can be purchased through Christian Liberty Press at www.christianlibertypress.com .
Copyright 2006 Michael McHugh
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