Songs of the Soul

Why do we sing? What is it about music that so easily speaks directly to soul?  The short answer is that music is a gift to all humans. It is a gift that is used by all people; even the deaf have a way of experiencing music through its vibrations. Music can raise us up out of the deepest pits of despair to heights of joy and the next moment leave us in tears of sadness and regret. Why do we sing? Usually we sing to express ourselves but as a gift from God music can serve a higher purpose.

Sing so as to make the world hear. The highest value of our singing after all has not been the mere gladness we have felt because of our salvation, but the joy of pouring out the praises of our God to those who have not known Him, or of rousing them by our singing of new thoughts and a new life.

“And sing till your whole soul is lifted up to God, and then sing till you lift the eyes of those who know not God to him who is the fountain of all our joy.”     (William Booth, Forward in an early edition of The Salvation Army Song Book)

Music is at its best when it is bringing  glory  to God and when it lifts the heart and soul into the presence of our Creator.

A few years ago (ok about twenty or so years ago) my husband and I did a program titled, “Songs of the Soul.” Essentially it was about how some of our hymns came to be written. Some came out of great pain and suffering while others came simply through the musings of the author. One hymn was penciled in a pew hymnal during the church service! However, the one thing that they all had in common was that they became potent and powerful instruments in the Holy Spirits hands. And the good news is that God is still inspiring the writing of hymns that will also stand the test of time. 

So what are those special song(s) that have spoken to your soul? What are the songs that helped you through difficult circumstances? What songs always have the power to move you quietly into the presence of the Almighty? Those songs that were with you at the beginning of your spiritual journey? For me there are three songs that stand out: My Jesus I Love Thee, Behold Him Now and My Life Must Be Christ’s Broken Bread.

Why do we sing? Don’t know about you but I sing because I need. I need understanding; I need joy; I need grace; I need love; I need strength and endurance; I need God.
My Jesus I Love Thee by William Featherston.      


My Jesus, I love Thee, I know Thou art mine;

For Thee all the follies of sin I resign;

My gracious Redeemer, my Savior art Thou;

If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.
I love Thee because Thou hast first loved me,

And purchased my pardon on Calvary’s tree;

I love Thee for wearing the thorns on Thy brow;

If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.
I’ll love Thee in life, I will love Thee in death,

And praise Thee as long as Thou lendest me breath;

And say when the death dew lies cold on my brow,

If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.
In mansions of glory and endless delight,

I’ll ever adore Thee in heaven so bright;

I’ll sing with the glittering crown on my brow,

If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.

Behold Him Now by George  Samuel Smith



Behold him now on yonder tree,

The Prince of Peace, the heavenly King;

O what can his transgression be

Such shameful punishment to bring?

And lo, a thief hangs on each side;

Who justly suffers for his crime.

But why should Christ be crucified,

The one so holy, so divine?

Chorus

It was for me, yes, even me,

That Jesus died on Calvary;

My soul to cleanse from all its guilt,

His precious blood my Saviour spilt.




O sinner, see, for you and me

He freely suffers in our stead;

And lo, he dies upon the tree;

Behold, he bows his sacred head!

So pure, yet he has borne our guilt,

By death our ransom he has paid;

It was for us his blood was spilt;

Our every sin on him was laid.

O loving Saviour, take my heart,

No longer can I live from thee!

With all unlike thee now I part;

Thy wondrous love has conquered me.

I yield to thee my little all;

Accept me now, Lord, as thine own;

I’ll be obedient to thy call

And spend my life for thee alone.

My Life Must be Christ’s Broken Bread by Albert Orsborn


My life must be Christ’s broken bread,

My love his outpoured wine,

A cup o’erfilled, a table spread

Beneath his name and sign.

That other souls, refreshed and fed,

May share his life through mine.

My all is in the Master’s hands

For him to bless and break;

Beyond the brook his winepress stands

And thence my way I take,

Resolved the whole of love’s demands

To give, for his dear sake.

Lord, let me share that grace of thine

Wherewith thou didst sustain

The burden of the fruitful vine,

The gift of buried grain.

Who dies with thee, O Word divine,

Shall rise and live again.

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