September 01, 2015
When our church held an ice cream social and old-time singalong 10 year-old Lydia, who loves to sing, sat downcast throughout the medley of hymns. It dawned on me that although the words to the songs were displayed on the overhead, it was hard for her to join in because she didn’t know the songs. I know exactly how she feels because many of the churches I visit sing praise songs that are unfamiliar to me. On the occasion when they do sing a familiar hymn or praise song, I have an instant connection in worship, rather than simply being a bystander. The psalmist, when referring to the Babylonian captivity, taps into a similar disconnect when he says, “By the rivers of Babylon we sat and wept when we remembered Zion. There on the poplars we hung our harps, for there our captors asked us for songs, our tormentors demanded songs of joy; they said, “Sing us one of the songs of Zion!” How can we sing the songs of the LORD while in a foreign land” (Ps 137:1-4 NIV)?