Why I Didn’t Sing in Church Last Sunday

02/12/2013 — 13 Comments

When I walked into the church on Sunday, I immediately knew it will be a long morning. I had arrived on time, and that was the problem. You see, I just didn’t feel like singing today. In fact, I haven’t felt like singing for a while now. These days I am actually happy when I get to church late, just when the “Praise and Worship” session is ending and the preacher is about to go up.

Sometimes I sub-consciously deliberately go in late for this reason. I like to think of myself as a sermon guy. Perhaps that’s why I prefer pod-casts to pulpits.

It’s not like I haven’t asked myself what the problem is. At first I told myself I am a bad singer and I wouldn’t want the person standing next to me to hear me, but that was a lie. It’s true that I am a bad singer, but I don’t think my neighbor would hear, let alone care. The music is loud enough at my church.

So I tried to rationalize that it’s the standing up for one hour that I can’t stand. Can’t we just sit there and watch the “Worship Team” do their thing? They have been practicing all week, why should I spoil their perfect harmonies? But I knew that this was just another excuse.

I know the real reason, but it is embarrassing. More embarrassing than fearing my neighbor and being too lazy to stand up. The real reason is, I just don’t feel like singing sometimes. I don’t want to. Yes, I may know the words to the song, but I really don’t feel them. I know the words are true. I know that God is great, awesome, that God is marvelous, that He is glorious… but I just don’t feel like saying it over and over. Because it feels so fake, so forced, like being forced to eat your vegetables… or laugh at a bad joke out of courtesy.

Most of the time, I only do it because it is part of the program. If it were up to me, at such times, I would skip the singing.

And I have skipped it when it were up to me. In Bible studies that I lead, I cross my fingers that no one will suggest a song before we begin. It’s a similar feeling with the prayer. I like to keep it short. Let’s just get to the Word. It is the preaching that I love. I can listen to the sermon for hours, and even preach one for longer.

I can’t help but wonder, am I the only one who feels this way sometimes? I know there are many amongst you who feel the exact opposite. You love the singing, but the sermon puts you to sleep. You can jump for hours, but you can’t sit for even 20 minutes. It is a strange thing, this difference. I wonder if it says something about the state of my spirituality… and yours.

By the way, have you read any book by J.R.R. Tolkien? He is an amazing writer! I love the way he weaves a beautiful fabric with his words. The way the words of his stories just freely roll down the tongue when read out loud. Bilbo Baggins, even the names of his characters are lyrical.It is like he wrote for both the eyes and the ears. Tolkien is a wonderfully gifted writer, I could sing his praises and praise his works all day long and then some. Every time I read his work I am inspired to tell the world about him, and write similar stories of my own. I can’t help but wonder if this is the wonder that escapes me when I face the thought of singing about my God.

For the fame of His name,

Cornell

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13 responses to Why I Didn’t Sing in Church Last Sunday

  1. 

    haha ‘the music is loud enough at my church’ so true…i have not experienced the singing-block but i love J.R.R Tolkien and of-course,by extension, C.S Lewis…but sometimes i’ve found i want to read nothing of their books,i dint finish Mere Christianity for reasons close to your not wanting to sing in church.i love Lewis and his works couldn’t explain why i just couldn’t get myself to finish that one work….

  2. 

    Thanks for the honest reflection, as always.

    CJ Mahaney has said that one of the primary value of songs is the way they function as “take-home theology.” Given your love for the Word, do you find any correlation between your enthusiasm to sing and the theological content of the particular song?

    Before the throne of God above
    I have a strong and perfect plea
    A great high priest whose name is Love
    who ever lives and pleads for me
    My name is graven on his hands
    My name is written on his heart
    I know that while in heaven he stands
    No tongue can bid me thence depart

    When Satan tempts me to despair
    and tells me of the guilt within
    Upward I look and see Him there
    who made an end to all my sin.
    Because the sinless Saviour died
    my sinful soul is counted free
    For God, the Just, is satisfied
    To look on him and pardon me

    Behold him there, the risen Lamb
    My perfect, spotless, Righteousness
    the great, unchangeable I AM
    the King of glory and of grace.
    One with himself I cannot die
    My soul is purchased by his blood
    My life is hid with Christ on high
    With Christ my Saviour and my God

    • 

      Thanks Chris. That’s is part of it, and worth considering. I guess “putting it out there” is the first step towards finding a genuine heart for “worshiping” in Spirit and Truth.

  3. 
    fidelnyikuri 02/12/2013 at 2:29 pm

    Many times we think that singing just comes naturally but trust me, it’s not. There’s always a reason behind our singing either praising, complaining, lamenting or even cursing! I think the thing then is to look at the reason why we sing. Many times I go to church and I just don’t sing… not for the same reasons as yours but other reasons. To be honest some of the so called ‘praise & worship’ songs we sing in church are nowhere near that!

    But just thinking along that line, the Psalms provide us with reasons why we sing… it may be praise & worship, exultation, lament, plea for mercy or even imprecatory. An understanding of this will help us a great deal. Worship/music leaders in particular need to be at the forefront in grasping this. It’s not just a matter of firing up the crowd with loud instruments and voices, I don’t need to be in Church to experience that.

    Thanks,

    Fidel.

    Check us out at http://watumishiwaneno.wordpress.com

  4. 

    Hehe, I know the feeling, and you put it out in such a way that I relate

  5. 

    Hey brother…. When we sing we’re simply saying “thank you Father for all you’ve done on my behalf”. That’s it. And He deserves it.

    Raise your hopeful voices. Make a joyful noise. And sing unto the King Of Glory….

  6. 

    Check out AW Pink on this particular subject. Interesting (providentially?) I just read it a few hours ago. http://www.chapellibrary.org/files/archive/pdf-english/si47.pdf (page 52).

    • 

      Thanks for sharing that Kaj. Just gone through it and it was REALLY helpful. Barikiwa.

    • 

      This drove the point home:

      The theme of Israel’s song at the Red Sea, of Isaiah’s, of the Psalmist’s, were the perfections of the LORD: His holiness, righteousness, power, mercy, statutes. And when that be the theme, the song needs neither musical instruments as an “accompaniment,” nor a trained choir to “render” it!

      The only song acceptable unto God is that which issues from a renewed soul, which is prompted by faith, and is directed by love. You may, dear friend, be cut off from other saints, unable to mingle your voice with theirs in public worship, yet in the privacy of your own room, you can be engaged in “singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord” (Eph 5:19), and thereby anticipate heaven.

  7. 

    Keith Getty of In Christ Alone was interviewed about the hymn. In it he raises some valid points bout music, ending with “We need not shy away from the hard, mysterious sections of Scripture. Songwriters need to demonstrate a grasp of the whole biblical context. We must not be afraid to write about hard things. Singing songs with more depth allows us to experience the relief of lifting our eyes off ourselves and toward the unimaginable vastness of our God. This is what I pray for myself and for others creating music for the church today.” – http://bit.ly/1c70OeI

  8. 

    Oh, and yes, I have read Tolkien’s works. Started with LOTR then went to the Hobbit. Then tackled the Simlarillion which compared to LOTR is graduate level. But so very helpful, such that when I read LOTR after it, the experience was that much more pleasant since I now knew the backstory to much of what was only glossed over. The songs and poems I saw in a totally new light, since now I knew their origins and story surrounding their composition. If you haven’t read it, make sure to get a copy and read it. As well as the Middle Earth books, his notes, his thoughts on Middle Earth… A very compelling set of reading material!

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