This past week I’ve been reading a description of the 1904-1905 Welsh revival by G. Campbell Morgan. One of the things that caught my attention is that the author repeatedly describes the role of song in this revival.
Morgan notes his personal observation that “The Revival is borne along upon billowing waves of sacred song…It is the singing, not the preaching, that is the instrument which is most efficacious in striking the hearts of men.”
On another page, Morgan adds, “You can watch what they call the influence of the power of the Spirit playing over the crowded congregation as an eddying wind plays over the surface of a pond. If anyone carried away by his feelings prays too long, or if anyone when speaking fails to touch the right note, someone — it may be anybody — begins to sing. For a moment there is a hesitation as if the meeting were in doubt as to its decision, whether to hear the speaker, or to continue to join in the prayer, or whether to sing. If it decides to hear and to pray, the singing dies away. If, on the other hand, as it usually happens, the people decide to sing chorus swells in volume until it drowns all other sound.” (From a Kindle version of “The Works of G. Campbell”.)
Since we’ve entered another season of song, I’d been wanting to post here some observation about the role and spirituality of music in renewing and lifting our own hearts above the normal personal and relational tensions of life.
Then a number of you commented this past week about what you have seen in the gift of song—in your own lives and here on this blog.
What Paul said about speaking to one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs—as an expression of living under the influence of the Spirit must be much more than just a casual aside.
Maybe this is a not so subtle hint that in ways within and beyond our own control— one of the wonders and life-changing mysteries of Advent rises on the wings of song.
And once again, one of the songs I’m singing along with is “Mary Did You Know”. If you’re inclined, you may have to endure a “disruptive” Ad this time.