Why do we sing? There are two reasons. The first is we can’t help it. Singing is a response to something. If you go to watch a sports match, the fans cannot help themselves but sing. It’s an overflow of their affection for their team. In the same way, as Christians as we gather together, we cannot but sing because of what God has done for us in Christ.
The second reason is God commands us to sing. The bible contains over 400 references to singing and about 50 to those are direct commands for us to sing. It is not an optional extra for us.
To whom are we singing?
We are singing to the Lord. “…addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Ephesians 5:19,20
We sing to ourselves. “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name! Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits.” Psalm 103,1,2
We sing to others. “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.” Colossians 3:16
What do we sing? We sing Psalms, Hymns and Spiritual Songs. Different hymns will have different purposes in a service. The opening hymn, ordinarily, is Trinitarian focussing our attention upon, and adoring, God. Our hymn after the Confession of Sin and Assurance of Pardon is focussed on our response to God’s Pardoning Grace in Christ. We sing before the sermon to prepare ourselves to hear God’s word and after the sermon in response to the preaching of God’s Word.
How do we sing? Nowhere in the bible does God say I know I commanded everyone to sing but you are tone deaf and completely out of tune, so to save the people sitting beside you, just you keep quiet. It is not in there. Every single one of us is called to sing. We’re called to make a joyful noise to the Lord: Sing Out, Sing Joyfully!