Wo man singt, da lass dich nieder. Böse Menschen haben keine Lieder” – a German saying, which loosely translated means: “Wherever people get together to sing, join them. You won’t run into bad company there; evil people don’t have songs.”
My grandmother’s Dad was Walter Seelheim who knew how to play the accordion. At night, he played in dance halls, which were popular in Germany in the 1920s. Well-paid jobs were scarce after the Germans had lost World War I; playing music at night probably helped my great grandfather to feed his nine children.
My grandmother had seven sisters and one brother. Times were hard, but they knew how to have fun. At night, the girls who shared a bedroom fell into harmony singing old folk songs to pass the time.
I find it interesting that the apostle Paul encouraged the readers of his letter to spread the message of Christ in song. Singing together is such a bonding activity. About choral singing Julia Layton wrote in her article: “The Physical Effects of Singing”:
“A study published in Australia in 2008 revealed that on average, choral singers rated their satisfaction with life higher than the public — even when the actual problems faced by those singers were more substantial than those faced by the general public. A 1998 study found that after nursing-home residents took part in a singing program for a month, there were significant decreases in both anxiety and depression levels. Another study surveying more than 600 British choral singers found that singing plays a central role in their psychological health.”
It’s no secret that not everybody can sing in tune, which would be a major deal-breaker for joining a choir. Singing in the shower, it won’t matter whether or not we sing out of tune. Singing is simply good for the soul, which is why the Lord encourages us to keep it up (Psalm 33:3):
“Sing to him a new song; play skillfully, and shout for joy.”
An added bonus of making music is that we typically don’t engage in violence as we sing. How do we change the world for the better? Obviously, not by violence; the message of Christ is a message of peace. The peace movement initiated by Jesus starts within the human heart. Making peace with God, we spread peace wherever we go. That’s the power of Christ’s message in a nutshell, and we can sing about it.