Ephesians 5:19 – Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord. (NIV)
There are some remote congregations in the Scottish highlands and islands that have been singing the same worship songs for nearly five hundred years. They don't get caught up in the hype of modern Christian music; instead, they faithfully praise God, singing the psalms that their ancestors composed in Scotland when Presbyterianism started to take root.
They sing the psalms unaccompanied and usually in the Gaelic tongue. For someone who comes from the outside to one of these services, the singing is eerie, as ancient Scottish melodies and rhythms blend with Shakespearean-like written psalms.
It sounds like a clash of cultures, but eventually, those psalms and their tunes were introduced to the mountain people of the eastern United States. Sometimes, when I hear us singing Appalachian hymns in church, I can "hear" the Scottish parts in the song.
I would have loved to have heard the hymns and psalms that the first Christians sang. I am sure that they reflected parts of the Jewish, Greek, and Roman cultures that they came from. It must have been wonderful to be part of a new faith group, with new ideas and a new excitement about life. Those things would have made Christians sing out with hearts and voices.
When we gather together on Sunday, we have a glorious opportunity to share our faith, our cultures, and our music. God brings us together to praise His Son, Jesus Christ, with our psalms and hymns. It's a wonderful part of what we do as Christians. It's a wonderful experience to behold. One day, when we gather again at the feet of Jesus, we will sing songs from all over the world, from different times, places, and cultures that we will instantly know in our hearts and beautifully sing forever.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, You love singing, which is why our churches are full of people who love to sing. We praise You with ancient words and modern tunes, with organ music, pianos, and harps, with stringed instruments, drums, and horns. Thank You for the gift of song that You have inspired in the hearts of our people. In Your holy name, we sing and pray. Amen.