How can I keep from singing?


Doug Campbell - Contributing columnist



Someday I expect to be walking down a street of gold and hearing someone whistling a catchy tune. It’ll be one of the Psalms, and I’ll say, “So, that’s how that’s supposed to go!”

Why didn’t we preserve the music that goes with these hymns from the Second Temple? They can’t have been as dreary as we’ve allowed them to become.

Maybe it’s a case, as is so often repeated among religious people these days, that someone got upset with “those new songs”, and to spare the church fight, only the words got preserved.

My sense is they were intended to set our toes a-tappin’ – with the possible exception of the laments; but even those ought to have us weeping in time to the music.

Plato heard “the music of the spheres”, even if he got the cosmology (and theology) wrong. God’s creation seems to have a sound track: Every theophany (appearance of God) is accompanied by song, sung by a “choir” of angels. Coincidence? I think not.

Who can’t be moved by music? Who indeed! Only the tone-deaf can wander through the world and miss the song in it. Perhaps that is hell. “How can I keep from singing?” It doesn’t have to be on key – only loud and joyful. Somehow God harmonizes it in His almighty ear.

My life flows on in endless song; above earth’s lamentation.

I catch the sweet, though far off hymn that hails the new creation.

R/ No storm can shake my inmost calm while to that rock I’m clinging.

Since Christ is Lord of heav’n and earth, how can I keep from singing?

The peace of Christ makes fresh my heart, a fountain ever springing.

All things are mine since I am His! How can I keep from singing? R/

Text and tune: Robert Lowry 1826-1899

Sing, and perhaps King David will break into dance. Hopefully he’ll be wearing his pants this time!

Pastor Doug Campbell is a retired Lutheran pastor and a member of Faith, Wilmington. He currently is supplying pulpits in the Southern Ohio Synod. He was formerly Deputy Wing Chaplain for the Civil Air Patrol in Ohio. Before seminary, he worked for the Chillicothe Gazette, and as the editor of the Chanute AFB newspaper in Rantoul, Ill.

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Doug Campbell

Contributing columnist