Soli Deo gloria – glory to God alone
God’s people have always sung and both the Old Testament and the New are replete with examples. Singing, as an integral part of worship, is a sacred thing so it’s very important that we offer a sacrifice of praise that’s worthy of our extraordinary and incomparable God. It’s also important that we praise God as He wants to be praised. It’s not a matter of personal preference and it’s certainly not any kind of performance or entertainment. Our song, as God’s people, is for Him and His glory alone.
About this project…
First and foremost, this website is in praise of the triune God. The Bible exhorts us time and again to praise God constantly for He alone is worthy to receive our praise and adoration. ‘Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth; break forth into joyous song and sing praises!’ (Psalm 98:4)
It’s also an act of service to God and to His Church. ‘As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace.’ (1 Peter 4:10)
About private and family worship…
It’s a particular privilege to sing praise as part of our private and personal worship. The hymns we sing should praise God for who He is and should also underline and reinforce our theology. For this reason, we need to choose our hymns carefully.
In family worship too, singing is a special honour that reinforces family ties. My first lisping prayers were based on hymns. Prayers before bedtime were based on the children’s hymn ‘God make my life, a little light.’ and grace before meals was based on ‘All good gifts around us…’ (the chorus of the hymn ‘We Plough the Fields and Scatter’). We also occasionally sang the Doxology as a form of recognising God’s bounty in all things.
To this day, the hymns I learned at home provide comfort, education and support. They also represent loving, lasting ties that bind our family together, past and present and, hopefully, way into the future.
About corporate worship…
As one of the elements of corporate worship, congregational singing is the response of a grateful, redeemed assembly of God’s people raising hearts and voices as one in praise and adoration. The term implies an activity that’s both active and fully inclusive but, somewhere along the way, it appears that many congregations have become passive consumers of performance-based music rather than active, enthusiastic participants in a true sacrifice of praise.
Congregational song operates in several dimensions.
• The first is upwards towards God, acknowledging His deity and splendour. We only have to read the Psalms with their wonderfully extravagant praise. Is that how we sing? Do we regularly sing Psalms?
• The second is outwards towards one another. There’s a marked educational element to congregational singing, both in the sense of teaching and admonishing one another and in learning spiritual truths by singing with understanding. Do our hymns underline Biblical truths? Do they edify and educate us? Do the hymns we sing in Church add quality to our private worship at home?
• Finally, there’s a sense where we connect with God’s people throughout the ages; past, present and future. The nation of Israel sang praise, so did Christ and the apostles and so do the saints in glory. In effect, we’re participating in an endless, ageless act of worship.
So, the underlying purpose for this project is to explore musical strategies that encourage and support quality, purposeful and intentional song for the glory of God, the edification of His Church and the communion of the saints.
‘Through Christ then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God…’ (Hebrews 13:15)
Wherever you and your Church may be on the continuum of skill and expertise, I hope you’ll find practical information here that you can employ to help you raise a joyful noise unto the Lord.
I’m a committed Christian and I’m proud to own Jesus Christ as my Lord and Saviour.
I was born in Scotland into a musical family. Both my parents were talented musicians; my Mum sang and played piano and my Dad played piano and accordion. He also sang in the Male Voice choir at Church.
My Aunt was a music teacher and I began piano lessons as a child, a pursuit that continued well into adulthood. I also learned to play guitar and flute.
I grew up in a Church with a strong tradition of quality music and congregational singing and I sang there as a soloist, in the choir and as part of a youth group. Over the years, I’ve served in various music ministry roles including Church pianist and Choir Leader.
I’ve travelled widely including a number of years living aboard a sailing boat in the Bahamas and Caribbean followed by several years in the South of France. It’s fair to say that I have a wide experience of different Church cultures and practice particularly with respect to congregational song. I currently live Scotland with my husband and two rather large and boisterous dogs.
Sacred music, both at home and in Church, is one of my greatest passions.