Sermoncitos, a family tradition
Music for Worship
The angel of the Lord announced the birth of Christ to the shepherds. Suddenly there was a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the Highest, and on earth, peace, good will toward men” (Luke 2: 13,14). At the Last Supper, Jesus taught his followers, “and when they had sung an hymn, they went out into the mount of Olives” where he offered his ultimate sacrifice for us, those He loves. In this same pattern, today we sing for worship and instruction at home and at church. Music has power to teach the Gospel.
During the Jaredite journey of three hundred and forty four days on the water,, “they did sing praises unto the Lord; yea, the brother of Jared id sing praises unto the Lord, and he did thank and praise the Lord all the day long; and when the night came, they did not cease to praise the Lord” (Ether 6:9). Today we can sing to cheer our hearts. Music has power to sustain people during difficult times.
“Sing unto the Lord; for he hath done excellent things... Cry out and shout... for great is the Holy One of Israel in the midst of thee” (2 Nephi 22:5,6). “Break forth into joy; sing together... for the Lord hath comforted his people,, he hath redeemed Jerusalem” (Mosiah 12:23). “Break forth into singing, and cry aloud...” (3 Nephi 22:1). By singing we bear testimony. Music has power to express our deepest feelings of gratitude, praise, and honor.
In his vision of heaven Lehi “saw God sitting upon his throne, surrounded with numberless concourses of angels in the attitude of singing and praising their God” (1 Nephi 1:8). When Alma saw the same vision of angels singing and praising their God he longed to be there (Alma 36:22). King Benjamin was looking forward to the time when his “immortal spirit may join the choirs above in singing the praises of a just God” (Mosiah 2:28). Mormon saw the time when the just would “dwell in the presence of God in his kingdom, to sing ceaseless praises with the choirs above, unto the Father, and unto the Son, and unto the Holy Ghost, which are one God, in a state of happiness which hath no end” (Mormon 7:7). Singing is an attribute of God. Music has power to lift us to a state of happiness in the presence of God.
When Alma taught the people at the waters of Mormon, they found testimony and knowlege, “and how blessed are they, for they shall sing to his praise forever” (Mosiah 18:30). Alma taught that those who had received a change of heart were “loosed from the pains of hell; and they are brought to sing the song of redeeming love, and this because of the power of his word which is in us” (Alma 5:26; 26:13). Music is the natural expression of a changed heart.
When the Nephites realized the war was over, “they did break forth, all as one, in singing, and praising their God for the great thing which he had done for them” saying, “Hosanna to the Most High God. Blessed be the name of the Lord God Almighty, the Most High God. And their hearts were swollen with joy, unto the gushing out of many tears, because of the great goodness of God” (3 Nephi 4:31-33). Music gives voice to our gratitude.
“Therefore, the redeemed of the Lord shall return, and come with singing unto Zion; and everlasting joy and holiness shall be upon their heads; and they shall obtain gladness and joy; sorrow and mourning shall flee away” (2 Nephi 8:11). May you invite the spirit of peace and joy into your homes by having a musical Christmas.
Our family reunion included singing for fun and bonding, the international Olympics includes singing in all the ceremonies, we tune our radios to singing as a constant companion, our churches include singing for worship... I think that singing is an attribute of God that we should aspire to (1 Nephi 1:8; Alma 36:22; Mosiah 2:28; Mormon 7:7). The Lord “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” (D&C 25:12).
When Moses was 120 years old and the people were about to inherit the Promised Land, he gave his final commandments and blessings and warnings to the Children of Israel. The Lord commanded Moses to write a song, which he taught to the people to be a constant reminder of their duty (Deuteronomy 31: 19-22). Apparently, it was not unusual for Moses to compose songs. Forty years earlier Moses wrote a song to celebrate their deliverance from Pharoah’s army at the Red Sea (Exodus 15:1-2). In that tradition, Solomon wrote 1,005 new songs of his own, and selected professional musicians to sing and play cymbals, psalteries, and harps for the worship services and ceremonies (1 Chronicles 23:5; 25:6,7). The Israelites would create new songs for every purpose (Numbers 21:17; 2 Samuel 22:1). They believed that songs were inspired by God (Job 35:10).
When the Lord returns, his voice will be heard among all people as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of a great thunder (D&C 133:21,22). The righteous will be brought forth from many lands and “they shall be filled with songs of everlasting joy” (133:33). “The graves of the saints shall be opened...and they shall sing the song of the Lamb, day and night forever and ever” (133:56). In the Millenial day, all men shall praise the Lord with song, as “the Lord Jehovah is my strength and my song” (Isaiah 12). There will be new songs given to us from God (Isaiah 30:29).
Clearly, not all songs are pleasing to the Lord. We must live the good principles that are expressed in the good songs (Ezekial 26:13; Amos 5:23). In our final Glory, the exalted saints will be with God singing the “song of Moses” and the “song of the Lamb” (Revelations 15:3). I believe that those are songs composed by Moses and Jesus, as singing and song writing are natural to God. Some of the songs of our Father are so sacred that they cannot be sung by everyone (Revelations 14:3). However, we are commanded to “give thanks, call upon his name, make known his deeds among the people, sing unto him, sing psalms unto him, talk of his glorious works, and glory in his holy name...” (1 Chronicles 16:8-10). When we are touched by the Spirit we have a change of heart and a desire to sing “the song of redeeming love” (Alma 5:26; 26:13). The day will come when all will be able to sing (Isaiah 35:6).
“Let the mountains shout for joy, and all ye valleys cry aloud; and all ye seas and dry lands tell the wonders of your Eternal King! And ye rivers, and brooks, and rills, flow down with gladness. Let the woods and all the trees of the field praise the Lord; and ye solid rocks weep for joy! And let the sun, moon, and the morning stars sing together, and let all the sons of God shout for joy! And let the eternal creations declare his name forever and ever! And again I say, how glorious is the voice we hear from heaven, proclaiming in our ears, glory, and salvation, and honor, and immortality, and eternal life; kingdoms, principalities, and powers!” (D&C 128:23). May your life be blessed with song.