What is the purpose of “hymns and spiritual songs”? Why is it an important part of our spiritual life?
His Grace Bishop Youssef:
The Holy Bible teaches us that in singing hymns we are imitating our Lord Jesus Christ, Who after instituting the holy mystery of the Eucharist, sang a hymn with His disciples just before he went to the Mount of Olives where He knew He were to be arrested “And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives” (Mt 26:30; Mk 14:26).
Singing hymns is a way of uplifting one’s spirit especially in the time of distress. While in jail, St Paul and St. Silas not only prayed but also sang hymns “But at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them” (Acts 16:25).
Singing hymns is a means of communicating and a mode of worship. St. Paul says “Be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another in the fear of God” (Eph 5:18-20).
Singing hymns and Psalms is a method of teaching and reproving “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord” (Col 3:16).
Singing hymns is a tool for comforting one another during suffering and distress and also expressing our joy and cheerfulness “Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing psalms” (Jam 5:13).