Tuning our hearts
"Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord..." Ephesians 5.9
Just been reading the introduction to an old volume of Gaelic hymns. The editor is explaining that the tunes were specially composed to evoke the appropriate feeling in the worshipper and so it is important that those who sing these hymns should first learn the tune and then add the words. That way heart and head and voice are united in a perfect harmony of praise and adoration to God.
That runs counter to the attitude many of us are used to, which views emotion as fickle at best; something to be harnessed, controlled even. Certainly not to be given the lead role in worship. If we are to sing our theology, surely that is to give precedence to words not feelings? Yet no less an authority than the apostle Paul exhorts the church at Ephesus to give expression to their feelings not their thoughts - or at least to put their hearts into it!
I appreciate the way that, in our Sunday morning Zoom services, our praise leaders have arranged things so that we begin with an extended time of praise. Singing through a hymn in the usual way fills our heads with worthy ideas and, I trust, offers a sweet savour to the Lord. Yet, through multiple songs and often the repetition of lines and choruses, we are transported to new levels of awareness and expression which, I believe, amounts to heart as a well as head music.
Mar sin, dèanamaid adhradh...