05 December 2003

Wilberforce Forum pushes psalm-singing

Well, this is good news. Along with raising awareness of the implications of a christian worldview, Chuck Colson's Wilberforce Forum is now encouraging psalm-singing among Christians. Here is Wilberforce fellow T. M. Moore on "Whatever Happened to Singing? Music: Not a Spectator Sport." Writes Moore:

Especially let me encourage you to take up the discipline of singing the Lord’s own words back to Him (Ps. 119:54). It was probably a psalm (maybe 67) that gave Paul and Silas such comfort and strength in that dungeon in Philippi. The singing of psalms was the first step in winning Augustine’s heart for the Lord. Psalm-singing has been the practice of Christians from every tradition for nearly 2,000 years. Columbus sang psalms before he could read. Celtic Christians were taught to sing psalms while they carried out their daily chores. The first book published on the American continent was not the Bible, but the Massachusetts Bay Psalter. By failing to take up this discipline in our generation we are in danger of throwing away one of the great traditions of our faith.

Singing psalms deepens us theologically, gives guidance to our prayers, and creates a space where the Lord is pleased to come and dwell, right in the midst of our praises (Ps. 22:3). Singing psalms puts us in the company of that great unseen host who have gone before us to glory and surround us as faithful witnesses to the Lord. Singing psalms gives us a common language with believers everywhere, and ensures that our praises to God will be precisely those He most longs to hear (since He wrote them).

Learning to sing the psalms can be a most healthy addition to your spiritual disciplines. . . . Sing to Lord as an act of faith and obedience. Sing with all your mind, heart, and strength as an expression of your love for God. Make singing to the Lord more a part of your life, in particular, singing His psalms, and you will find your own faith strengthened and renewed on a daily and continuing basis.

To further whet his readers' appetite for psalm-singing, Moore includes his own long-metre versification of Psalm 92, whose first two lines appear to be borrowed more or less verbatim from the 1912 Psalter. More of his metrical psalms are promised in future columns.

Given Colson's following among evangelicals, one hopes that, with his organization's continued support, a revival of psalm-singing might come about in this community. With further encouragement, some could even be brought to explore and appropriate the riches of the Genevan tradition of psalm-singing.

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