Reflecting on the Sing! 2018 Conference

Written by Jenny Fugler

It was not the first time I had seen my dad cry over something spiritual. It was not unusual for him to sing throughout his day. The fact that he loved hymns and knew most of them by heart was also not surprising, as he and my mom raised my four siblings and I to know and love hymns from a young age. But I’ll never forget the time when I came across my dad singing along to a recording of “The Love of God” one regular afternoon my senior year of high school.

Could we with ink the ocean fill
And were the sky of parchment made
Were every stalk on earth a quill
And every man a scribe by trade.
To write the love of God above
Would drain the ocean dry
Nor could the sky contain the whole
Though stretched from sky to sky.

O Love of God, how rich and pure!
How measureless and strong!
It shall forevermore endure
The saints’ and angels’ song.

His eyes were filled with tears when he finished singing the chorus as he looked at me and smiled, “I love that. I just love that.”

I’m not sure exactly why some memories choose to stay with us and others don’t, but I think it was a combination of the beauty of the words, the fact that I had never heard this hymn (even though he had taught us most of our hymnbooks), the ease with which he recalled the words, and the impact I viscerally absorbed from him singing them to me.

Last week, I had the opportunity to attend a few days of the Sing! 2018 conference. Although my time was brief, I came away with a renewed sense of why singing “psalms, hymns and spiritual songs” (Ephesians 5:19) deliberately with my family or consciously on my own is not only a great aim, but a duty of mine that I am to pursue. The psalms are full of commands to sing to our Lord and to praise His name – we must sing! It is as important as sitting under the preaching of God’s word and gathering with the saints. And although I initially look at this truth as a mother, and in light of CLK, I believe it goes far deeper than simply singing to our children and teaching our children the hymns. As believers, we have the unique opportunity to sing to one another (as my dad did to my 17-year old self years ago) and we have the power to sing truth to ourselves. What power God enabled within music to lift our souls out of the depths, to remind our hearts of truth, and to turn our eyes upon Jesus. Music is a common grace to the human race, an extraordinary gift to the believer.

Upon coming home from Nashville, I was asked the following question:

“How do you long for Covenant Life to grow, and how are you thankful for her?”

Here are a few areas that came to mind.

More than anything, being able to sit under such teaching caused my heart to long to see Covenant Life Church grow in joyful singing – as families, as a diverse people, and ultimately together. I am praying that we would know, believe, and embody these few facts:

Singing to and with the church and our families helps us express our joy in God. What is your deepest joy? If it is God, or perhaps if there is a need to grow in joy in God, we are given singing as an aid to both express our joy and train our joy. It also shows our children where true joy is found!
Singing helps the truth of God’s word to be more easily remembered. This is true across the map – how many of us remember our letters because of the ABC song? Or the books of the Bible because of a song taught us when we were young? Or do you have Psalm 118:24 memorized unknowingly because of the song (look it up!)? I believe most of us desire to grow in memorization of God’s word…begin in song! You have the opportunity with your children, with your CG, as you drive home from work, while you cook dinner, and many others in between.

Similarly, singing helps us to pass on the great truths of God to others. Just as my dad sang “The Love of God” to me and I experienced my Dad’s immense love for our Heavenly Father in a moment, so singing the truths of the hymns or other truths put to music help those truths to be deeply rooted in our souls and the souls of our children. They may not understand now what a “bulwark” is. The phrase “Here I raise my Ebenezer” may seem as funny and strange to them as it did to me as a child. But as they grow in their knowledge and, prayerfully, love for the Lord in their years, may they likewise grow to know and trust in that Mighty Bulwark, never failing! And may they know and recall that God is our helper in every time of trouble!

Thankfulness for Covenant Life Church

As I sat in the last session my time allowed for, I heard these words from Alistair Begg: “The Word of God sets our agenda for praise. The preaching creates the foundation for praise.” As I scribbled the words down in my notebook, I gave thanks for our church and the faithful preaching we intake week after week after week.

For five and a half years, I have been fed richly and steadily through the living Word of God. I am beyond thankful for Justin’s role in this, but not only him! Drew Tucker, Jay Gregory, Jay Popovich, and Jim Hollenbach, and more recently our interns have all held forth the Word to us with life-giving emotion and steadfast faithfulness to the text. I am grateful and see now how this, in turn, tunes our hearts to sing His praise. I am thankful for Charlie’s heart to sing the Word and to sing rich songs that speak deep truths to one another. There is a deliberateness in why and how we preach and sing, and although we are young and have much room for growth, these men do this well.

I am thankful for the faithfulness of every member who serve our young children up in Covenant Life Kids. Our children have the rich opportunity to hear and see and experience the grace of God in so many of our members’ lives week in and week out. I’m grateful for those of you who sing to them as infants, who clap with them as 2s and 3s, who teach and pray with them as 4s and 5s, and who work through the sermons with them as 6s and 7s.

And finally, I’m grateful for families who are in the daily grind, working with their children at home to praise our Father in the midst of simply being faithful in the little things. I’m grateful for those who don’t have children, who love our children as their own – cultivating and praying for their hearts. I’m grateful for those who have older children, who may feel like they are done with this stage, yet come back and encourage us in the trenches to have heart and keep at it. Through you, our children are learning the importance of the commitment to the people of God. To covenant together means to be a family. We pray together, we gather together, we hear the Word together, and we will sing together, even now, and throughout all eternity!

Posted on: September 24, 2018 - 1:51PM

Comments are closed.