From the Rev: Men Who Sing and Praise God
I meet many men who tell me, “I don’t sing.” Many of these men are speaking from a church context and about modern worship styles and trends as this blogger details. But these same men who may stand silent in modern-day churches (and for many different reasons) are the same men who might have entire poetic passages of endearing chants and songs for their favorite sports team committed to memory as the Portland Timbers Supporter section Timbers Army has here. Why do men (in particular) struggle to perhaps worship and lift their voices in the church? Donald Miller suggests some reasons out of his personal reflections here, but regardless of whether one can connect in a traditional setting like a church service, part of the imago dei (the way people were made in the image of God) and human imperative is to worship the Lord (see Psalm 100).
Pope Francis recently commented that the praise given when one’s sports team scores is similar to the kind of praise that we ought to offer to God. Pope Francis is Argentinean and a big football fan and, thus, makes a great parallel when equating the songs heard through stadiums around the world with our need to praise and sing to God. Consider the psalmist, David, writing of the great chorus that creation is involved in Psalm 19,
1 The heavens declare the glory of God;the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
2 Day after day they pour forth speech;
night after night they reveal knowledge.
3 They have no speech, they use no words;
no sound is heard from them.
4 Yet their voice goes out into all the earth,
their words to the ends of the world.
In the heavens God has pitched a tent for the sun.
5 It is like a bridegroom coming out of his chamber,
like a champion rejoicing to run his course.
6 It rises at one end of the heavens
and makes its circuit to the other;
nothing is deprived of its warmth.7 The law of the Lord is perfect,
refreshing the soul.
The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy,
making wise the simple.
8 The precepts of the Lord are right,
giving joy to the heart.
The commands of the Lord are radiant,
giving light to the eyes.
9 The fear of the Lord is pure,
The decrees of the Lord are firm,
and all of them are righteous.10 They are more precious than gold,
than much pure gold;
they are sweeter than honey,
than honey from the honeycomb.
11 By them your servant is warned;
in keeping them there is great reward.
12 But who can discern their own errors?
Forgive my hidden faults.
13 Keep your servant also from willful sins;
may they not rule over me.
Then I will be blameless,
innocent of great transgression.14 May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.
David’s words remind us that, as creation lifts its voice in praise to the Creator of all things, so too should we – our voice ought to join in the chorus and praise the God who saves, the God who sees us in the midst of our distress and lifts up. For my friends who readily lift their voice in praise and song for the sports team, let us not shy from doing the very same for God who gave us the gift of sport. Let us be men who sing and praise God!
Rev. Brad Kenney