Music and its association with memories is a common topic addressed in articles and blogs. It’s a beautiful, powerful thing. My dad was talking to me this week about how certain songs remind him of my mom. He’ll hear a song--and it can be any song, even a pop song--that they listened to together, and it’ll bring back memories of her. Music holds a powerful influence on our lives.
Because of this, music is one of the ways that the gospel message can be introduced and internalized in a believer’s life. I still remember Bible songs I learned in Sunday school when I was a little girl (books of the Bible in order? Go!). Psalm settings that we sing in Sunday worship help me to recall my favorite psalms when I meditate on them during the week, even when I’m driving or teaching, and I don’t have my Bible in front of me.
What are some ways to use this amazing power of music in your life and the life of your congregation?
1. Start young: sing with children in Sunday school, VBS, children’s church, and of course, at home or in the car. Whether they are your own children, or children you minister to at the church, there are plenty of ways to share the songs you know with little ones. These songs will be great for your own scripture knowledge, too!
2. Incorporate songs or hymns featuring scripture verses and quotes into worship. Make sure to sing the psalms often. You will be surprised how well you will begin to know the psalter (“Ah, Psalm 91: ‘Who with God Most High finds shelter, in the Almighty’s shadow hides?’”).
3. Along with scripture quotes and verses, include hymns and other songs that teach Biblical doctrine and a godly prayer life, such as “What E’er My God Ordains Is Right” and “Be Thou My Vision.”
I am always impressed when I visit a nursing home with a church group, and we sing hymns with the people who live there. No matter how their health or memory is holding up, they remember the words to the old hymns they grew up singing.
God gave us the gift of music, and through it He allows us to relate to Him in a way that no other medium does. As a church musician, do your best to help your congregation incorporate this gift in their daily lives.