Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "The Old Rugged Cross"1 (Lyrics)
Psalm 146:2 – While I live I will praise the Lord; I will sing praises to my God while I have my being. (NKJV)
Because of the COVID-19 restrictions, there are many people, like my wife and I, who have not been to church for well over a year now. There are different reasons why people miss going to church. Some miss the fellowship of other Christians, while some miss the sermon and the offered prayers. I personally miss the singing. I especially like it when the congregation sings well. With online worship, I enjoy singing along with the hymns, especially when the words are given on the screen. Singing is an important part of the worship service.
Judging by number of times that the Bible mentions singing, it is obvious that singing was important in the worship of people in Bible times. It is still important now to sing praises to God.
Colossians 3:16 – Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. (NKJV)
The words of the songs that we sing express how we feel about life and about our faith. The authors of so many of the hymns wrote them based on their personal experiences, and through the words of the hymns, we get an insight into their feelings, while they reflect our own.
Even though some of us may not be good singers, we still like to sing the old hymns of the church, because we know them so well. We learned them years ago, and they speak to our hearts. So many of them are little sermons all by themselves, and quite often, they help us to tell others about our faith.
For many years, my wife and I led a worship service at the local Long Term Care Centre on Good Friday. We always ended with "The old rugged cross". It was a favourite with so many of the residents. Some of those in attendance told us afterwards how much they liked singing that hymn. In some cases, it brought tears to their eyes. It expresses so well the agony that Christ suffered as He gave His life to forgive our sins, and it also promises us our heavenly home.
- On a hill far away stood an old rugged cross,
The emblem of suffering and shame,
And I love that old cross where the Dearest and Best
For a world of lost sinners was slain.
To that old rugged cross I will ever be true,
Its shame and reproach gladly bear;
Then He'll call me some day to my home far away,
Where His glory forever I'll share.
– George Bennard, 1873-1958
Do you have a favourite hymn which speaks to your heart? God wants us to sing praises to Him, whether loudly or softly, alone or in the congregation, out loud or in our hearts.
Prayer: Our Father in heaven, we are so thankful for all the authors of the beautiful hymns of the church which give all of us the opportunity to sing praises to Your name. We thank You in Jesus' name. Amen.