Saturday, July 16, 2011

Of raising sounds of joy

Charismatics Christians love to sing. As we educate our son about church it's about Jesus and about singing to Jesus. We read The Jesus Storybook Bible and we pray - and we sing. Maybe we're a bad stereotype but Jesus makes me feel like singing. Perhaps it's not a charismatic thing... maybe it's just a Christian thing!

In 1 Chronicles 15 David appoints a group of Levites to be musicians for the people. They are appoint to "raise sounds of joy" (v16). What a great job to have - one many musicians will take up as churches gather. The worship of God's people was not sedate and stoic, sounds of joy were raised. With the richest of scriptural lyrics, let joyful melodies stir joy in people's hearts.

As David sings in chapter 16 that the hearts of those who seek the LORD rejoice (v10),the LORD's presence is a place of joy. I don't think we can pass off an absence of joy as 'British reserve' - the majority of the people in the 5000-strong crowd at the Thursday night prayer meeting at the Newfrontiers Leaders Conference are British, and they're not all confident or extroverted, but it's the biggest joyfilled occasion I've ever found myself in.

At the end of the chapter David himself is involved in exhuberant joyful worship before the Lord. The beloved dances before the LORD. The daughter of the king who broke faith (Saul) despises him in her heart for this (v29).

There are always two families interacting in the Bible, the seed of the serpent and the seed of the woman. The ungodly line are always striking at the heal of the godly, despising them... but their heads will be crushed for those who seek the LORD will find life and joy and victory. The LORD orders that his annointed overcome (16:22) - then even the trees rejoice, all creation will raise up sounds of joy. We either despise that, or find our feet starting to tap and our heart sparking to life as we see the beloved one rejoicing.

I found myself rejoicing last week to sing a new song... the LORD's annointed has overcome through his death and resurrection - rejoice in the undefeated man... combing rich theology and terrace-passion: Watch a Twitter-Video, Simon Brading leading:
"Who are ya, who are ya, O death has lost its sting, who are ya, you're not singing anymore. The enemy has been overthrown, Jesus high and lifted up on the cross... My God overcame, my God defeated Satan, My God will never be held down... My God, you are Christus Victor, the Undefeated Man"
The true Beloved rejoices in the presence of his Father, and carries us into the dancing, raising us up into his joy. Come to the banquet, come to the celebration, join the singing and dancing of Jesus in the presence of his Father in the fulness of the Holy Spirit.... As Tom Wright puts it in his excellent book Surprised by Hope: "God is God, Jesus is Lord, the powers of evil have been defeated & God's new world has begun"Why wouldn't we raise a sound of joy? The gospel calls for a joyful song from all who will receive this best of news.


  1. people who are not charismatics quite like singing too! for pretty much the same reasons...

  2. Indeed! I recall a great Stott quote about that somewhere, about us being happy singing people.

  3. Among many with affections alight to God in Christ the charismatic/non-charismatic debate/split is almost over, I think. Dave and Mark are both wonderfully vibrant Christians, with (I think) a very active doctrine and knowledge of the work of the Holy Spirit. Glad to hear both of you like singing!

    The question you have to ask, though, is what is going on with people who self-identify as Christians but who have no joy and who take an active dislike to the worship of others. Either expressed in disdain for purely stylistic preferences of others (ie not content) or in their own lack of enthusiasm to find ways to enjoy rejoicing in the Lord themselves. (people who are full of joy in Jesus and who enjoy expressing it are rarely critical of other people on style grounds).

    I don't think it is for us to question people's salvation, but when I find people who are cagey about worship I think that's a pretty big flag that something isn't right.

  4. "cagey about worship" is a funny thing isn't it. Some how we/others can get ourselves into some kind of caution and supersensitivity about these things, when we should know real liberty and joy.