the weblog of Alan Knox

Singing to one another

Posted by on Aug 15, 2012 in blog links | 19 comments

Singing to one another

Josh at “In Search of the City” is asking a great question (and answering it, by the way) in his post “Sing to one another?” As he points out, most singing by Christians today is done to God or about God.

But, as Josh says, we often miss the scriptural exhortations to also sing to one another with the purpose of edifying one another.

After sharing a quote from Ephesians 5:19, he writes:

Here Paul encourages the saints to sing not only to God but to one another. In Colossians he says basically the same thing, only with an emphasis on teaching and admonishing one another through song (Colossians 3:16).

When was the last time you were part of a church meeting where the members sang directly to one another? Yeah, it’s been a while for me, too.

At any rate, it’s a great practice which I highly recommend.

Then, believe it or not, Josh actually shares the lyrics to a song that written to him as a gift.

I’ve noticed that many of the songs that we sing today are missing the “one another” aspect that is so important in Scripture.

Do you know of any songs that include or emphasize this aspect of our mutual relationships in Christ? (The last time I asked this question, I learned about a song that I had never heard before. I’m hoping for something similar this time.)


19 Comments

Comments are closed. If you would like to discuss this post, send an email to alan [at] alanknox [dot] net.

  1. 8-15-2012

    Yes! I love the songs of Matt Papa for exactly this reason. While he certainly has songs directed to God, he also has many songs intended for spurring Christians on to love and good works. Here are a few examples.

    “This Changes Everything”

    “What Are We Waiting For?”

    “Where Is the Difference?” (Video explaining the song.)

  2. 8-15-2012

    1 Corinthians 14:26, of course, one of my personal faves:

    “What then, brothers? When you come together, each one has a hymn, a lesson, a revelation, a tongue, or an interpretation. Let all things be done for building up.”

    When’s the last time any of us had ‘church’ where the pastor never spoke, (even though we are taught it is his church and his pulpit, by golly) but instead we spoke one to another according to this passage from 1 Corinthians?

    I tried singing a song to my bride once, but then our cats spent the remainder of the day coughing up hairballs. So I don’t sing to my bride anymore. Just sayin’.

  3. 8-15-2012

    “When’s the last time any of us had ‘church’ where the pastor never spoke, (even though we are taught it is his church and his pulpit, by golly) but instead we spoke one to another according to this passage from 1 Corinthians?”

    Last night. :)

  4. 8-15-2012

    @Chuck,

    You just had to say it, didn’t you? I was trying to make a point, smart-guy! LOL!

  5. 8-15-2012

    Sorry. ;) Just like to remind folks that it is possible to actually be the church the way we’re supposed to be, rather than just theorizing about it.

  6. 8-15-2012

    Chuck,

    Thanks for the links. Perhaps you can write about how you gather with the church sometime.

    Donald,

    That’s similar to how we gather together as well.

    -Alan

  7. 8-15-2012

    Hmm, good point and I can only think of one song like this off the top of my head. It’s a good one though, I think. From the UK I give you ‘Men of Faith':

  8. 8-15-2012

    Alan, do you mean on my blog or as a guest post here? (I’d be up for either.)

  9. 8-15-2012

    Kevin,

    Thanks. I am familiar with that song.

    Chuck,

    Whichever you’d prefer. I’d love to post it as a guest post, but if you publish it on your blog, I’ll read it there too. :)

    -Alan

  10. 8-15-2012

    Alan did I see Mr. Bean?
    I actually do know some that you might be interested in. The Body Song
    http://www.living-praises.com/chord_htm/The%20Body%20Song.html

    Let Me Be Your Servant

    http://rockhay.tripod.com/worship/music/willyouletme.htm

    I actually no a few more that I could send to you by email later if you would like

  11. 8-15-2012

    Alan and Chuck,

    I would be delighted to read about your ekklesia in Christ. I am pursuing organic/house/simple ekklesia here in my small town, and while I have some of the bigger dynamics in order, I would enjoy reading about your expressions thereof. No, seriously. :)

  12. 8-15-2012

    Nice picture for this one, Alan. :)

  13. 8-15-2012

    Rod,

    Occasionally celebrities, like Mr. Bean, make an appearance on my blog. The last time I wrote about singing to one another, someone introduced me to the song “Let me be your servant.” I think it’s a great song.

    Donald,

    Another post that I wrote regularly (like my posts defining how I use the term “church”) is one describing how we meet together. It’s always different, so I try to give a general description. Perhaps it’s time for that kind of post again.

    Josh,

    Well, I had to find a nice pic to go along with your great post.

    -Alan

  14. 8-16-2012

    Ooh we have loads! Most of them are snippets of scripture made into a short chorus at a time when God lead my Church into koinonia, so most of them are along those lines-

    We know love by this;
    That He laid down His life for us.
    And we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren,
    And we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.

    And then there’s-

    Let us open up ourselves to one another,
    Without fear of being hurt or turned away.
    For we need to confess our weaknesses
    To be covered by our brother’s love,
    To be real and find our true identity.

    Another one we love is ‘Brother let me be your servant’ by Richard Gillard (© 1977 Scripture in Song/Kingsway’s Thankyou Music) –

    Brother, let me be your servant,
    Let me be as Christ to you.
    Pray that I may have the grace
    To let you be my servant, too.

    2. We are pilgrims on a journey,
    We are brothers on the road.
    We are here to help each other
    Walk the mile and bear the load.

    3. I will hold the Christ-light for you
    In the night-time of your fear.
    I will hold my hand out to you,
    Speak the peace you long to hear.

    4. I will weep when you are weeping,
    When you laugh I’ll laugh with you.
    I will share your joy and sorrow
    Till we’ve seen this journey through.

    5. When we sing to God in heaven,
    We shall find such harmony
    Born of all we’ve known together
    Of Christ’s love and agony.

    6. Brother, let me be your servant,
    Let me be as Christ to you.
    Pray that I may have the grace
    To let you be my servant, too.

  15. 8-16-2012

    I didn’t read the comments above before posting my own, it seems the ‘Let me be your servant’ song is very popular!

  16. 8-16-2012

    Ephesians 5:18-21(NET) And do not get drunk with wine, which is debauchery, but be filled by the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, singing and making music in your hearts to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for each other in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, and submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.
    Colossians 3:15-17(NET) Let the peace of Christ be in control in your heart (for you were in fact called as one body to this peace), and be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and exhorting one another with all wisdom, singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, all with grace in your hearts to God. And whatever you do in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

    The content of this singing to one another is not specified and a significant part seems to relate to personal communion with God: “…making music in your hearts to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for each other in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, and submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.” It seems the overall sense of the passages is the expression (both to each other and to the Lord) of joy and these passages seem to suggest it can be in one’s heart as well as out loud.

    As to the nature of the songs…excluding the Psalms-only position of my Reformed Presbyterian friends…I have come to characterize the history of Christian music in three stages:
    1. Talking to the world in general about what God has done (hymns)
    2. Talking to (mostly other believers) abut my personal experience with God (Gospel Choruses)
    3. Talking to God about what he has done and thanking Him for what He is doing for me (modern worship choruses).

    Is one better than the other? …not particularly (or at least there is no Scriptural teaching about it). The verses cited do not so much make a point about the singing TO one another as they seem to be speaking of shared joy in one another’s presence.

  17. 8-16-2012

    Aidan,

    Thanks for sharing those song with us!

    Tom,

    I think it would be a good exercise to take this idea (singing to one another) and expand to look at some of the points that you’ve brought up. But, one thing we can’t get around is that in both the Ephesians and Colossians passage, the singing was both to God and to one another.

    -Alan

  18. 9-25-2012

    Is there any link where I can listen to the song ‘Let us open up ourselves to one another’?

  19. 9-25-2012

    Christabelle,

    I don’t know. Perhaps Aidan will see your comment and reply.

    -Alan