In Christian worship, God is the audience of our singing. Many congregations today see themselves as that hundred-person choir singing to God. They imagine that they stand as a mass of worshipers, singing their songs of faith to him. That is the expectation behind modern hymns and praise songs. Modern hymns do not say, for example, ‘What a friend I, Joseph Scriven, have in Jesus.’ Hymnwriters compose songs for the congregation to sing as their song to God, with the song’s original author and his experience disappearing from view.
This is where the Psalms are radically different…. Jesus sings his own songs in his own words (composed prophetically for him). They are his praises of the Father which he calls us, as his subjects, to join him in singing. Rather than disappearing from view, we are supposed to sing in conscious identification with Jesus as our Psalm leader, and with his experience of the cross and resurrection before us.
Excerpted from Singing the Songs of Jesus: Revisiting the Psalms by Michael LeFebvre, pg. 54, (Christian Focus, 2010).
Learn more about Michael LeFebvre by reading his author profile, here at Christian Focus Booknotes.