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Thanksgiving - And the Gift of Song

September 2009

  Thanksgiving Day has come around again, and my mind turns to God, the Giver of all our blessings. Perhaps I think of these things more now, than when I was younger -- but an appreciation for the gift of family and friends, a peaceful life, enough food on the table, and so much more, causes me to think of God who is the Source of it all.
     And one way we respond rightly to life's blessings, is with thanksgiving to Him.
     Psalm 92:1 tells, "It is a good thing to give thanks unto the LORD, and to sing praises unto thy name, O most High." One of the beautiful ways in which we can express thanksgiving, is in song. It not only gives glory to God, but it's good for us!
     One of the problems of the present age is that music has become sort of a "spectator sport". It used to be that the only way to experience music was to either participate, or to be present to hear others. However, mechanical recording and broadcasting has given music wings like it never had before in the history of the world.
     This has not all been well. The ability for music to be recorded and broadcast has turned most people into listeners, rather than active participants. Even churches have changed. Congregational singing used to be the usual Sunday morning worship experience, but now it's become the exception rather than the norm.
     So, we ask the question. Does God intend us to merely listen to music-or does he expect us to sing ourselves? It is interesting, as one studies relevant scriptures, that they give us no specific guidance in how to listen to music. Rather, we find many exhortations to sing.
     A study of history reveals that earlier generations of Christians sang on all sorts of occasions. Not only at joyful times, but while suffering in prison at midnight, Paul and Silas chose to sing psalms. There are many records of Christians who suffered during the persecution of the Reformation Period in Europe, and there are many songs that came out of this period from those suffering saints.
     Why do so many modern Christians neglect the practice of singing spiritual songs, and the hymns of the church? Probably some people find it more enjoyable to listen to professional singers. And it is also true that singing takes commitment. It's much easier to pop a CD in the player.
     But as I mentioned at the beginning, singing is good for us. It is a spiritual exercise that has no substitute. It is an expression of worship, and God is pleased when his people sing!
     So mothers, sing to your children. Not only when they are infants, but surely start then. Parents, sing together with your families. Those can be beautiful times of family togetherness. And it's an excellent antidote for a case of the "blues" when father or mother is weighted down with the cares of life.Singing worship hymns draws the mind and heart God-ward. Songs of consecration and commitment will draw our souls in this direction.
     This Thanksgiving season, turn off that recorded music, and lift up your voice in a song of thanksgiving. Surely God is worthy of nothing less.

- Mervin Brubacher
   Barwick, ON

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