Thursday, March 19, 2009

Oh, What Songs of the Heart?

Today I was reading a familiar verse and I saw it a different way.
For my soul delighteth in the song of the heart; yea, the song of the righteous is a prayer unto me, and it shall be answered with a blessing upon their heads. (Doctrine & Covenants 25:12)
One of the things that hit me differently was that phrase “song of the heart”. Often I have had a vague idea that this means something about a song going through the mind. But in singing hymns, this interpretation doesn’t help us much; rather, it is almost like permission not to sing. (“I don’t have to sing; the Lord knows I have a song in my heart.”)

This time when I read “song of the heart”, my mind somehow turned it into “hearty song”, which gives it a much more helpful meaning for hymn singing in church. The Lord delights in hearty songs and hearty singing, singing with gusto and enthusiasm. None of this half-mouthed, lily-livered whispering business.

The next thing that struck me is that phrase “the song of the righteous is a prayer”. I’ve known some good people to sing some songs that haven’t been very…um… righteous. (And would the Lord consider it a prayer if I sang the song “I’m a Juvenile Delinquent” that goes to the tune of “I’m a Yankee Doodle Dandy”? I don’t think so.) Something more is needed to understand this.

This time the phrase “song of the righteous” seemed to transform itself in my mind into “righteous song”. This makes perfect sense in the context of the sentence. The righteous song is certainly a prayer to God, expressing sentiments of faith, a bright hope for the future, praise of God’s holy character and power, desires for repentance, appreciation for Christ’s redemptive sufferings, teaching correct principles, conveying histories of faithful Saints, and so on. Surely these are the kinds of songs that a righteous person would be disposed to sing.

And we’re promised that those prayers in righteous songs will be answered with blessings. Of course they would be!

This is the reason that we always sing hymns in our church meetings. Sing out!


Mona said...

Woo hoo!!!! WHAT an insight!!!!!!!! You've made my day! I can't wait to tell Dale - we have spent our whole lives serving music in the church. This is such a fabulous insight that we will be sharing for the rest of our lives I'm sure. THANK YOU!