Worship Through Song
Open Your Bible
Psalm 33:1-9, Psalm 147:1-9, Exodus 15:19-21, Acts 16:16-34, Colossians 3:16
BY Guest Writer
My emotions have been a bit up and down lately. I’ve been writing songs in fits and starts, leaving chords and scribbled notes in papers on the piano, unfinished and forgotten. This is an especially dynamic time for our family as we have recently welcomed a new baby. But as we shift into this new season of life, I find I am once again comforted by chords and lyrics, by the act of praising and worshiping God through them. I find rest when I call to mind these words from the psalmist: “For the word of the LORD is right and true; he is faithful in all he does” (Psalm 33:4 NIV). Our God has made all things with His own hands, and with every new season and turning of our lives, He invites us to sing a new song to Him.
In the midst of all these changes, I try to live in the moment, to be present and take it all in stride. But the thing about living in the moment is that it’s wrapped up in the weather, the mood I’m in, what I ate for lunch, how much sleep I’ve had, or how stressed I am about work obligations. Emotions are the fuel and the energy of our daily rhythms; they provide the movement of our lives. Created by God, our emotions are good and can teach us things about who we are, who our God is, and who our neighbor is; however, in and of themselves, our emotions are not trustworthy and ought not be left in charge to guide our lives. This is where worship can come into play.
Worship can lasso the wild horses of shame, gladness, anger, loneliness, and sadness and then corral them inside the fence of truth. Worship is restorative; it is the corrective to our emotional ups and downs. It turns the disharmony of our circumstances into the resonant harmonies of a new song. Worship is not just about living in the moment; it is an honest look at who we are in light of who God is, of where we’ve been and where we are going.
Through worship and song, God invites us into a deeper relationship with Him. He reveals more of Himself through the act of worship, and as a result, our spirits, minds, and bodies are realigned to His reality—not what we perceive our circumstances to be through the lens of emotion. God provides and sustains in all things, and He teaches us to sing new songs of praise, new ways to worship Him within each new twist and turn of life, in times of both joy and sorrow.
There’s an old gospel hymn that says, “I sing because I’m happy, I sing because I’m free.” But when we go through times of difficulty or transition that are disorientating, how do we keep worshiping? When awakened in the middle of the night with a newborn baby, or rising in the morning after a break-up, or standing on the grass at a loved one’s funeral, or in the slow delays of a long illness—how do we keep on singing?
It takes faith to believe in what we cannot see, to sing ourselves forward into hope. Worship is the practice of faith, of aligning our spirits with God’s kingdom reality; singing is what comes out on the other side. These words seem to spring up out of a deep well of gratitude within the psalmist, who says, “Hallelujah! How good it is to sing to our God” (Psalm 147:1).
Sandra McCracken is a singer, songwriter, and producer from Nashville, TN. Over the course of ten critically acclaimed studio albums, Sandra has developed a body of work that encompasses hook-driven melodic pop, No Depression-style Americana, contemporary recastings of classic hymns, and even children’s music as part of the Nashville alt-folk super-group Rain For Roots. Her newest album, Songs from the Valley, was released this spring.