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Pastoral 2016

Voices of Gethsemane

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Since time immemorial, God’s people have been singing unto the Lord as individuals, as a congregation and as a choir. While it is biblical to look at the ministry of preaching as the most important ministry in the church, looking down on the ministry of the church choir as though it is irrelevant in the church is downright unbiblical. When Martin Luther said, “Music is next to theology”, he was not suggesting that theology is the only thing that matters and that the church could serve God without music. Actually, what he was advocating is the opposite – music is to be in tandem with (though always guided by) sound theology. In fact, good theology makes the whole church sing! “Blessed is the people that know the joyful sound: they shall walk, O LORD, in the light of thy countenance. In thy name shall they rejoice all the day: and in thy righteousness shall they be exalted” (Psalm 89:15-16).

It is God’s will that every Bible-believing church should aspire to be a singing church. One cannot read the Bible and fail to realise there are hundreds of biblical commands, exhortations and testimonies, calling us to sing praises unto the Lord. It is estimated that there are 185 songs in the Bible! Do you know that some of the books of the Holy Bible are written entirely as musical texts? They are the Book of Psalms, Song of Solomon, and Lamentations. In the Old Testament, you can find “The Song of Moses” (Exodus 15), “The Song of Wells in the Wilderness” (Numbers 21:17- 18), “The Song of Victory of Deborah and Barak” (Judges 5), and “Jehoshaphat’s Battle Song” (2 Chronicles 20:21). Furthermore, when God’s people were allowed to return to Jerusalem after seventy years of captivity in Babylon, Ezra recorded for us how God blessed the returnees with a choir of 200 singing men and singing women (cf. Ezra 2:65).

In the New Testament, one can find “Mary’s Magnificat” (Luke 1:46-55), “Worthy is the Lamb” (Revelation 5:9-10) and “The Song of the Lamb” (Revelation 15:3). It is also noted that the Lord Jesus ended the meeting with His disciples at the upper room with a hymn (Matthew 26:30). When Paul and Silas were imprisoned at Philippi, instead of worrying for their lives, at midnight before they went to sleep, they simply committed themselves to God in prayer and sang praises to Him (Acts 16:25)! Truly, singing praises unto the Lord had always been part and parcel of the lives of God’s people. No matter what situation they were in, God’s people sang praises unto God.

Why are all these recorded for us? Is it not to convict our hearts that we must be a singing people? Take note how the apostle Paul exhorted the church at Ephesus regarding this matter. “And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 5:18-20). A church that is at the forefront of singing praises unto the Lord is a fruit and a sign of being filled with the Holy Spirit. If our people “drag their feet” and find it a big struggle to “sing unto the Lord”, there is something spiritually wrong!

Obviously, this is not to say that everyone in Gethsemane must serve in the church choir. Paul explains, “For the body is not one member, but many … If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling? But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him” (1 Corinthians 12:14-18). Truly, we all have different gifts and callings. Among these must surely be the gift of music. May those who are so gifted and so moved of the Lord to serve Him in the church choir ministry, rise up and serve Him!

Our church is blessed with a choir. It is known as “Voices of Gethsemane”. Its purpose is to gather, organise and train those whom God has blessed with the ability to sing. Audition is not necessary for brethren to join us. It is open to any interested person who is a born-again believer, and who feels called to sing in the choir. If you are being moved of the Lord to join us, you are most welcome. We meet at 9.00am on Sunday mornings. Be assured that the church choir needs more help and “reinforcements”, and your prayerful contribution will be gladly received by all among the Voices of Gethsemane.

So come and let us serve the Lord and His church together! Indeed, “Make a joyful noise unto God, all ye lands: Sing forth the honour of his name: make his praise glorious. Say unto God, How terrible art thou in thy works! through the greatness of thy power shall thine enemies submit themselves unto thee. All the earth shall worship thee, and shall sing unto thee; they shall sing to thy name. Selah” (Psalm 66:1-4).

 

 

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