In the letters of Colossians and Ephesians, the apostle Paul speaks some important words to the new believers in each of those cities. In Colossians 3, we read, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, through psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, with gratitude in your hearts to God.” The words in Ephesians are almost identical. “Be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything.”
These verses speak clear words of instruction about the purpose of congregational singing in worship. We are to sing, because it is in singing that God’s word can teach us. We often think that this can happen only through scripture or the spoken word. But Paul’s words are unmistakable – we are to sing.
This is just what we have been doing this summer, singing psalms and hymns, and now this week we move to our first spiritual song. I love to think of “gospel music” as spiritual songs. Often the catchy melody and rhythm of a gospel song will help us better internalize the words and that is true of our song this week, an old favorite, Victory In Jesus. The three verses of this song tell of a personal salvation experience from beginning to end. Does it tell your story? I hope that will be your question as we sing this Sunday – giving thanks to God for everything!