We Sing Because We Need Words

One summer, I had the opportunity to lead music for a youth camp that was on the beach. The campground literally ended where the sand started, and so after our set was over one night, myself and a couple guys on my team removed our shoes and watched the sun fall behind the seemingly endless Pacific Ocean. As the evening sky faded from blue to orange, the water perfectly reflected the setting sun and the handful of stars that were already visible, a hundred miles from the closest city lights. It was amazing.

I remember standing there in the sand, letting the waves crash against my ankles as I took in the beauty of creation. In this moment of worship, I caught a glimpse, even if just for an instant, of how big and beautiful God is, how grand and magnificent his works.

In that moment, the words just fell from my mouth:
“You are holy, great and mighty
The moon and the stars declare who you are
I’m so unworthy, but still you love me
Forever my heart will sing of how great you are”(1)

In a moment that could have come and gone in seconds, the words of Phil Wickham’s “Cannons” allowed me to reflect on the glory of God. I know that sounds like a scene from a Hallmark movie, but it really happened. There was no melody in my tone. I wasn’t singing. What happened was in that moment of awe, I was able to pull from my vocabulary words that I had sung in so many church gatherings.

I think this is an important role of music in the church, and one that is often overlooked. When we sing, we are giving people language with which to worship God in their everyday lives.

When we sing, we are giving people language with which to worship God in their everyday lives. Click To Tweet

If you’re a church musician, you get to serve your church in this way. When those in your church are experiencing the joys of Christian community, the lyrics that you sing can become the soundtrack that they use to glorify God. And when your people are going through the junk that life is sure to bring them, they can find comfort through the words of the songs you sing. What a beautiful responsibility!

And if you are on the other side of the microphone, sing your heart out, knowing that the words you’re singing will stick with you and become the vocabulary with which you can ascribe ultimate value to God.

(1)“Cannons,” Phil Wickham, Seems Like Music | Phil Wickham Music.