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Realizing the presence, promise, and power of the Kingdom of God.

The Spirit Who Sings

The Holy Spirit sets us to singing.

I beg that me, a little man/trembling and most wretched,/rowing through the infinite storm/of this age,/Christ may draw after Him to the lofty/most beautiful haven of life/ unending holy hymn forever.

  - Colum Cille, Adiutor Laborantium (Irish, 6th century)

And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with all your heart...

  - Ephesians 5.18, 19

Warning: Semi-occasional rant on behalf of singing as a spiritual discipline just ahead.

I always have to pause when I come to this passage in the book of Ephesians. There can be no doubt that Paul teaches one of the primary evidences of the filling of the Holy Spirit is singing - to ourselves and to one another. Singing. The Holy Spirit sets us to singing.

Why is this so hard to understand? What makes me think it's hard to understand? Well, apart from Sunday mornings, when do you see Christians singing under the influence of the filling of the Holy Spirit? When do you sing with the Spirit?

Now there is a mystery here, because apparently singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to ourselves and one another is good spiritual medicine. The Spirit recommends it. Indeed, He serves it up.

Colum's desire, upon arriving in heaven, to be a perpetual holy hymn to the Lord is something he anticipated and even prepared for during his earthly sojourn. He wrote hymns and poems. He was a persistent singer. You might say He practiced in this life what he expected to know and enjoy in the life to come.

If we're honest we'll probably say that the prospect of singing for all eternity doesn't really enthrall us much. To which I respond, anyone who feels that way has probably never really sung to the Lord with His Spirit here and now. Because if you do, if, under the influence of the filling of the Spirit, you open up and let those psalms and hymns fly full force to the Lord, you will know His pleasure, enter into His glory, and taste His goodness in an uncommon way.

And you'll want more of that. Forever, even.

Scripture commands us to sing. Jesus led His disciples in singing. The Spirit within us longs to sing. The saints in heaven are singing perpetually.

What's our problem?

The Spirit invites you to join Him in singing the praises of God, for your own edification and that of your fellow believers. If this is not part of your regimen of spiritual disciplines, then, first, why not? And second, how soon can you start?

You may now return to your regularly scheduled regimen. With singing.

And if you'll write me I'll send you a free sample of psalms you can sing to familiar hymn tunes. Just ask for the Psalter Psampler when you write.

T. M. Moore, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
Books by T. M. Moore

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