Why We Sing
by Reggie M. Kidd
What is it about singing that takes us beyond mere belief or behavior?
Think of singing as a language that allows us to embody our love for our Creator. Song is a means he has given us to communicate our deepest affections, to have our thoughts exquisitely shaped, and to have our spirits braced for the boldest of obediences. Through music, our God draws us deeper into a love affair with himself.
"Do you love me?" What a moment it is when Tevye sings these words to his wife, Golde in Fiddler on the Roof. Their oldest daughter has turned her parents' world upside down by telling them she plans to marry a man of her choosing rather than theirs.
Stunned at such world-shaking bravado, Tevye realizes he can no longer take anything for granted.
He looks at his wife of 25 years as though she were a stranger. He has to know: Have we simply been acting the part? With his musical question, "Do you love me?" he acknowledges a profound reality: acts of love are important to a relationship, but no less vital is the embodiment of that love in words.
No, it's not enough that for 25 years Golde has cooked her husband's meals, washed his clothes, milked his cows, shared his bed, given him children. To his poignant, "Then you love me?" Tevye needs to hear Golde's (superbly understated), "I suppose I do."
The song that passes between them bears a sacramental message: behind the cooking and the milking and the birthing, there is after all something exotic and mysterious.
That's the way it is with God and us. The singing makes our covenant relationship more than a mere contract. It is a mysteriously romantic intimacy as well.
From Key Life Magazine, Summer 2006 (21.2)