At Cornerstone we believe firmly that our worship should honor and praise our great God — not only in the preaching of His holy Word, but also in our praying, reading, confessing, giving and singing together. ALL these acts of worship are not simply ‘filler’ before the sermon. In them we practice the priesthood of all believers as we ALL participate as members of His body in corporate worship.
The Reformation of the 16th Century recovered a whole-church participation in joyous worship as the entire congregation sang, filled with the Holy Spirit. Ephesians 5:18 instructs us that through the filling of the Spirit we are to “speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making music in our hearts to the Lord as we give thanks always to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Martin Luther celebrated the importance of this biblical principle with these fascinating and challenging thoughts on God’s gift of song:
To all lovers of the liberal art of music Dr. Martin Luther wishes grace and peace from God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ. With all my heart I would extol the precious gift of God in the noble art of music, but I scarcely know where to begin or end. There is nothing on earth which has not its tone. Even the air invisible sings when smitten with a staff. Among the beasts and the birds song is still more marvelous. David, himself a musician, testified with amazement and joy to the song of the birds. What then shall I saw of the human voice, to which naught else may be compared? The heathen philosophers have striven in vain to explain how the human tongue can express the thoughts of the heart in speech and song, through laughter and lamentation. Music is to be praised as second only to the Word of God because by her are all the emotions swayed. Nothing on earth is more mighty to make the sad merry and the merry sad, to hearten the downcast, mellow the haughty, temper the exuberant, or mollify the vengeful. The Holy Spirit himself pays tribute to music when He records that the evil spirit of Saul was exorcised as David played upon his harp. The fathers desired that music should always abide in the Church. That is why there are so many songs and psalms. This precious gift has been bestowed on humans alone to remind us that we are created to praise and magnify the Lord. But when natural music is sharpened and polished by art, then one begins to see with amazement the great and perfect wisdom of God in His wonderful work of music, where one voice takes a simple part and around it sing three, four, or five other voices, leaping, springing round about, marvelously gracing the simple part, like a square dance in heaven with friendly bows, embracings, and hearty swinging of the partners. Anyone who does not find this an inexpressible miracle of the Lord is truly a clod and is not worthy to be considered a person.