It was sometime around 1998 or 1999 when I was introduced to the cinematic masterpiece entitled Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit. (I’ll spare you a boring synopsis, because you really should watch the film in all its mid-90s glory). It was the music in the movie that gripped me. I remember being captivated by Ahmal’s voice (played by Ryan Toby) as he belted out the high notes of the old spiritual “Oh Happy Day.” I remember being enthralled by the hip-hop rendition of “Joyful, Joyful, Lord We Adore Thee” in the finale. And, most impactfully, I remember being totally enraptured by the duet between Tanya and Rita. When Rita (played by the legendary Lauryn Hill) sat down at the piano and belted out the lyrics to “His Eye is on the Sparrow,” goose bumps covered my arms and I immediately developed a full-fledged musical crush. My pre-teen world had changed completely.
There is a marvelous and foundational truth hidden in the chorus of Rita & Tanya’s song.
I sing because I’m happy
I sing because I’m free
Why do Christians sing together? Because we’re happy in Christ. Because He has made us free.
It has been said that “worship comes as a response to revelation” (Keith & Kristyn Getty, Sing!, 2017). We, more than any other people on earth, have reason to sing. In His Word, God has revealed His eternal plan to save sinners. In Christ, God has revealed Himself in human form. And every Sunday, God reveals Himself anew through the songs of His people and the proclamation of His Word.
We sing because God is holy, holy, holy. We sing because this thrice holy God loves us. We sing because our Savior rescued us from our sin. We sing because “while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). We sing because Jesus bore the wrath of God in our place so that we could be counted righteous before a holy God. We sing because we’re preparing for our role in an eternal chorus in the presence of God. We sing because we’re happy and free.
For more on God’s gift of singing, listen to this sermon.
To listen to the songs we sing at my church, check out this playlist.