Dear Church Family,

Valentine’s Day 2016 has come and gone along with billions of dollars. Although we could talk about how our pocketbooks reveal who and what we love, in this newsletter we will look at how singing communicates our love. The past two weeks we have thought about what our Bible intake and prayerfulness demonstrate about our love for God. Now, as we turn to this subject, we should be aware that heart-engaged singing flows out of a Spirit-filled believer.

Have you ever been to sporting event that was quiet? Since we are getting closer to March, we will focus on basketball, but I think this is probably universally true to some degree. Basketball games are loud. The cinderblocks, concrete, and hard seats in most gyms can make for some deafening acoustics. Certainly there are moments of silence, but those moments don’t last very long. Why is that?

Fan[atic]s love their team. Some paint up, some wear costumes, some spend big dollars on tickets, some spend hours preparing chants and cheers, some dance and jump, some scream until they lose their voices and then keep screaming—all because they love their team. Most don’t mind making fools of themselves, because they are not alone. They are surrounded by thousands of other people who love their team just as much as they do.

Aside from pivotal moments, when does one team typically stop cheering? One side grows quiet when they are being dominated and have nothing to cheer about. But just as soon as there is a glimmer of hope after something is done well, the roar of once dormant cheers rises again. From time to time, players and coaches will ask for the crowd to yell for the team by lifting their hands—which the crowd is eager to do. And, in some instances, supporters do seem to be able to encourage the players by cheering them on.

As Christians, our singing should serve as a reminder to ourselves, an encouragement to one another, and a pleasing aroma to our great God. He has already conquered sin and death on behalf of His Church. He loved us while we were sinners. He has forgiven us much. He has made all of the promises to us. He has given us His Spirit to help us. He is always with us and will never forsake us. He has surrounded us with brothers and sisters to share in our joy and sorrow. He has blessed us with every good blessing in Christ.

Though it may appear to the world or even sometimes to us that He is losing and we have nothing to cheer about, we must remind ourselves and each other that the battle has already been won. As sinners saved by grace, we ought always to have a love song of praise in our hearts about the God who saved us. Does a mumble or whisper seem to communicate the depth of what has been accomplished on our behalf? Are we ashamed to shout His praises in the presence of the church, let alone the world? God often uses the singing of His people to affect change in the lives of others. Will we then refuse to be used of God in this way by refusing to sing joyfully? When we fix our eyes on the Savior, we cannot help but passionately sing His praises in love.

Ephesians 5:18-21; Luke 7:36-50; 17:11-19; Acts 3:1-10; 2 Samuel 6:12-23