Are You Missing the Joy?
I have been serving churches in the US for decades as well as visiting churches across our country, the Caribbean, Europe and Asia. Observing congregational singing in these diverse churches, I have concluded that some people in our US churches are missing the joy that comes when singing hymns. When you visit a church in the Caribbean, everyone in the congregation is standing, singing, and in many cases dancing to the music. In European and Asian Christian churches, congregations may not be dancing, but everyone is standing, holding a hymnal and singing. In our country, this is rarely the case. Sometime people don't like a certain hymn or the words or the tune, so they don't open the hymnal and miss the thrill of singing. After all, no matter the quality of your voice, everyone can sing on a hymn without the fear of anyone hearing their voice. Please don't tell yourself that you can't sing. I have yet to find anyone who can't sing! Really!
John Wesley and his brother Charles, founders of Methodism, put instructions in the front of their hymnal asking everyone to Sing all. Sing lustily and with good courage. I was thrilled to see that this is still the case in Wesley's Chapel London. When I played there, everyone was standing and singing with enthusiasm. Perhaps their people realize that John Wesley might hear them since he is buried at the church. Charles, the musician of the two, is buried outside a church a few miles from their church.
Next time we sing a hymn, try it, you might like it. Stand and feel the joy when singing "lustily" great hymns.