Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, 13 bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 14 And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. 15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. 16 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. 17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
18 Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. 19 Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh with them. 20 Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord. 21 Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged. 22 Bondservants, obey in everything those who are your earthly masters, not by way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord. 23 Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, 24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ. 25 For the wrongdoer will be paid back for the wrong he has done, and there is no partiality. – Colossians 3:12-25 [ESV]
He who sings, prays twice. Next to the Word of God, music deserves the highest praise. I would certainly like to praise music with all my heart as the excellent gift of God which it is and to commend it to everyone. But I am so overwhelmed by the diversity and magnitude of its virtue and benefits that I can find neither beginning nor end or method for my discourse. – Martin Luther ~1530
I’m with Luther. I love music. It moves the heart and soul. Scientific studies have shown that music can change a person’s state of mind. It can agitate. It can sooth. It can excite. It can calm. When we go to the gym, we don’t always like their choice of music, but the songs with a beat keep us moving. I fell in love with my wife when she played Chopin and Brahms on the piano. Wonderful! I have a gift of music, able to sing and play the piano by ear.
Some songs just stick it for me. I have chosen some songs to be sung at my funeral. Lord, Thee I Love With All My Heart is first on the list. I’ve also requested In Christ Alone. And I just added to more: Is He Worthy, and Untitled Hymn. [Links below provide Youtube versions of some of these.)
I’m on solid ground in choosing these (or other Christian hymns or spiritual songs). This is what we are all called to do: “singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.” When music embodies the truths of God’s word (as these four hymns/songs especially do) we are not only reminding ourselves of God’s goodness, faithfulness, and love. We are bringing God’s word to others, and perhaps encouraging them in their walk. This would be my hope – not only at my funeral service, but in my life as a whole.
I try, once in a while, to listen to talk radio, or top 40, pop, or (don’t judge me!) even easy listening music. I enjoy movie soundtracks and highly regard John Williams’ incredible movie soundtracks. But I come again and again to classical (with many religious/faith roots and allusions) or Christian contemporary music. These bolster my spirits and shape my soul. How about you? What’s on your playlist?