Third Sunday of Lent—You Don’t Have to Be a Singer to Sing


March 7, 2021

Psalm 4

To the tune of “Sweet Hour of Prayer” L.M. Sing it at

1 God, answer when I call to You,
for You are all my righteousness;
Be merciful, and hear my prayer,
o give me hope in my distress.

2 People of earth, how long will you
my glory turn into disgrace?
How long will you love worthless lies,
and seek false gods and not My face?

3 The Lord has placed us with Himself
and hears us when we call to Him.
4 So in your anger, do not sin;
and search your heart as day grows dim.

O ponder Him upon your bed;
be still, and make your heart His own;
5 Give sacrifices that are right;
trust in the Lord, the Lord alone.

6 So many ask, “O who can know
or show us any good at all?”
O let the light of Your face shine
upon us, Lord, who on You call.

7 My heart is filled with greater joy
than when new wine and grain abound;
8 I will lie down and sleep in peace;
for You, Lord, safely me surround.


Do you sing?

Have you bought or downloaded a record or a song lately and headed straight for the liner notes to read the lyrics with no interest in actually hearing it sung or singing along? Who would do that? Imagine it: buying a record, pulling out the liner notes, and throwing the CD away.

But is this not what we do with the Psalms?

Something about singing takes words beyond our rational faculties and into the heart of our emotional realities. This is why there is a songbook in the middle of the Bible. Singing is the sine qua non of life. It is “essential.” The life hidden with Christ in God is a singing life. Why? Because this life is much more about the proper ordering of our desires, affections, dispositions, and deepest feelings than about managing behavior and measuring performance.

So do you sing?

Remember the words of Nicetas: “For a psalm is sweet to the ear when sung, it penetrates the soul when it gives pleasure, it is easily remembered when sung often, and what the harshness of the Law cannot force from the minds of man it excludes by the suavity of song.”

Don’t tell me you are not a singer. I’m not asking if you are a singer. I want to know if you sing. Maybe this is the problem: we think that in order to sing, we must be singers. In this American Idol culture, has singing become more about performance than pathos? Sure, there’s always emotion in song, and we experience it when we listen, but that’s not enough. To sing is to move beyond experience and into expression. This is what the Psalms are for.

I have been careful through these daily Lenten writings to label them as songs for a reason. What if we stopped saying the word psalms for a while and referred to these 150 chapters of the Bible as “the Songs”? Instead of saying the Twentythird Psalm, we could say the Twenty-third Song. Song 23.

One more time. Do you sing? It’s a serious question.

Psalm 4 is a short, easy one to sing.

Ask Yourself. Share with Another.

So are you giving singing these songs a shot? If not, why not? You won’t know until you try.

For the Awakening,
J.D. Walt

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Comments and Discussion

One Response

  1. One of my fond memories of worship is standing between two friends to sing a hymn. They were both raising their voices in song with confidence and commitment. What was great was the friend on the left can not carry a tune in the bucket and the one on the right has one of the most beautiful singing voices I have ever heard. I am somewhere in between. It was a lesson in it is not about how well we sing; it is about “Make a joyful noise unto the Lord”.

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