“…speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord.” Ephesians 5:19
Recently I visited my grandma and found that she lives a simple life. Upon asking her what she typically does everyday, two of the three activities she mentioned were “reading the Bible” and “playing musical instruments.” On the dining table was a wooden frame with eight wooden pipes hanging on it. By shaking each of the pipes like a bell, a pitch could be sounded.
Perhaps out of small talk and attempt to break the silence, I asked my grandma how it sounded when played and she began rattling the wooden pipes one at a time. I wasn’t genuinely interested in the notes she was playing nor consciously listening, until midway when I realized what the melody was.
It was “Sweet Hour of Prayer.”
Later, she played a few more tunes on her harmonica. “At the Cross”, “The Home-land Shore”, and others – all hymns.
I was touched and humbled. My grandma received a prestigious education, one such aspect being in music. Yet, with all the musical talent she possesses, she only cares to play music that glorifies God. I could tell that throughout her daily life, only hymns get stuck in her head and she delights in making music to the Lord.
The authors of Psalms often made music to the Lord, singing and writing many songs of praise out of admiration and delight for God’s truth (Psa 108:3-4, Psa 138:2). The author of Psalm 119 writes, “Your statutes have been my songs…” (119:54). Can we say the same for ourselves?
Music is a form of expression in many of our daily lives, whether we hear it through our iPods on the street or from the radio in our cars. What melodies are most likely to be stuck in our heads and hummed from our mouths? What place does the word of God have in the songs we listen to?
For those of us who hum hymns only once a week, we need to integrate God more into our daily lives, learning to delight more in the words inspired by God and less in the lyrics inspired by men.
Although I do not see my grandma often, our brief gathering showed me the value of music inspired by the words of God. After all, they are the words that will bring us simple joy and contentment through all our days. They compose the melodies we will sing unto eternity.