I grew up in a household where my mother and aunt constantly sang hymns as they did the everyday chores and men whistled while they worked. Singing has always been an integral part of the life of workers. When tasks required teams to work together singing songs gave a rhythm and held the group together. This was the purpose too of sea shanties. As sailors hauled in the nets or pulled up the rigging there was a strong beat which united their efforts. Spirituals also had the same use as well as being encouragement to those whose lives were unbelievably hard.
Evangelists like Alexander and Moody and Sankey realised that many of their converts were unable to read so they used songs, often to popular tunes, to underline Biblical truths. Repetition was also a valuable part of this strategy as in the hymn “What can wash away my stain? Nothing but the blood of Jesus. What can make me whole again? Nothing but the blood of Jesus”.
A feeling of unity, camaraderie, and of belonging is generated when we sing together in a group. The Bible encourages us to sing. The book of Psalms was the Jewish hymn book and often the Psalmist says, “Sing to the Lord”, “Sing joyfully to the Lord”, “Sing to the Lord a new song”.
Singing hymns is an integral part of our times of worship together, bringing praise to our God, uniting us in belief and effort and cementing our relationships, encouraging us and strengthening our faith.