The Coronavirus Cannot Keep Us from Singing

The Coronavirus Cannot Keep Us from Singing by KEITH GETTY for The Gospel Coalition

GNN Note – We were singing praises at the top of our lungs yesterday!!! What joy filled the air.

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Singing unifies us. We open our mouths, herald God’s praises, and many voices join together as one.

Yet, over the years, believers have had sharp debates about music and singing. Sometimes we have let our differing views threaten our harmony.

The coronavirus pandemic has provided a new opportunity for Christians to disagree about singing. Some argue that church members must gather and sing despite the risks—after all, singing God’s praise with his people is a biblical command. Others respond that care for the vulnerable and deference to the consciences of others dictate a season in which we sing softly, or through masks, or while distanced––or that we pause meeting altogether for the sake of our neighbors.

My goal is not to referee these debates or to argue for one side. Scripture clearly teaches that when we have differences of conscience, we must “pursue what makes for peace and mutual upbuilding,” and I urge believers to follow that course in these conversations (Rom 14:19).

Rather, I want to remind us that in the timeline of eternity, the coronavirus will be a mere blip. The Enemy wants to use this moment to divide us. Let’s spoil his schemes. Let’s seize this opportunity to remember the glorious truth that, regardless of how we respond to COVID-19, we are always a singing people. Through restrictions, setbacks, and disagreements, Christians have always sung God’s praises through the ages. By his grace, we will continue to do so through eternity.

Here are some thoughts on how we can keep our heads above the fray and focused on the big picture.

The Songs Have the People

My friend Gary Haugen, the CEO and founder of the International Justice Mission, is regularly engaged in a slew of issues including racism, human trafficking, and the like. He often tells a story about an early civil rights leader who was incredibly discouraged by the slow progress. What did this leader say was his only encouragement? He knew his side was going to win.

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