Not that long ago, my family and I visited my 90 year old grandfather. This once strong and determined man now spends most of his days lost in his thoughts. The mind that was once sharp and influential can’t remember my name some days. As we visited with my Papa, the conversation was hard to keep going. Dementia means that some days are better than others. So we began to sing.
As soon as we began the first hymn, the words that he had stored up came bursting out of his mouth, the melody still as clear as in years gone by. Blessed Assurance, Holy, Holy, Holy, and To God Be the Glory were sung loudly and joyfully. Other residents in the care home stood outside my Papa’s room, listening, even singing along with us.
While this may sound a by-gone activity, it should not be. I often think about what I will sing when I am old. Few modern choruses will remain just like many older hymns were never sung for more than a few years. But great hymns of the faith – old and new (like In Christ Alone or His Mercy is More)are modern yet will be sung for generations.
As my children are growing up, music is an important part of their lives. They love good music. I want to root solid truths in their minds so that if I grow old and my mind begins to fade, they can come to visit me some day and even if I don’t remember them, we could still sing praises to God together.
Part of our family’s practice is to occasionally sing after supper. We take an old hymnal or pull up the words on the iPad and begin to sing a song. During the season of Lent (the 40 days prior to Resurrection Sunday), we sing songs that celebrate the cross of Christ. It’s not a practice we do every day, but occasionally we join together in song.
Why sing together? First, making melody in our hearts to the Lord is a command (Eph. 5:19). God desires our praise. Second, it is good to read the Bible and pray together, but theology is also learned through song. I still remember songs from my Sunday School days, and there is nothing that moves my heart like the truths of Scripture with soaring melody. Third, singing plants truth deep into our soul. Words may come to mind, but melodies prompt words. Finally, the family is the church in microcosm, so learning to sing at home trains us to sing robustly on Sundays.
It might feel awkward the first time you ask your family to sing together. The teenage boys will go, “Really?” or the young child might not know the words. But singing together is worth it. One verse once a week will cement more truth into your child’s mind than rehearsing one truth over and over.
As Lent approaches this next week (March 6th), why not try to sing together “Jesus Paid It All” and learn that hymn over the coming weeks? Singing together might feel like a stretch at first, but God will bring to mind these great truths for days, even years to come – even when the mind begins to fail.
Singing with you,
Missional Action Plan: Take one hymn and seek to learn it as a family – with your children, or just husband and wife. Don’t worry about sounding good – make melody in your hearts unto the Lord.
Missional Action Prayer: Lord, help us to sing from hearts that love and praise and adore you. Root glorious truths deep within us so that we might always have reason to praise you. Amen
As we gather for Sunday worship, we want you to meet with God and be transformed by the Word. Prepare your heart by reading the passage and listening to the songs for Sunday.
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