I’ve touched on this a little on my previous post and I’ll expound on it a little more here. I believe worship should proclaim the Gospel story as much as possible. We as human beings are inherently forgetful. We need reminders. We need structure. Singing the gospel story over and over again reminds us of who God is, who we are in relation to Him, what He’s done, and how we should respond. We need to be reminded of this, constantly!
A lot of hymns do this exceptionally well. The stanzas all build up thematically going from human’s sinfulness to God’s saving grace and finally looking forward to the new heavens and earth. The well known hymn Amazing Grace depicts this beautifully as it speaks of the grace that a ‘wretch like me’ is bestowed upon. It then looks forward to when our ‘flesh and heart shall fail’ and ‘mortal life shall cease’ having hope in our future dwelling with God.
Expecting all hymns/worship songs to speak of the gospel story in its entirety is probably an unreasonable expectation, but at the minimum, parts of the gospel story must be incorporated and fleshed out in our worship. If all we are singing is the love of God, we miss the serious depravity and sinfulness of man. On the other hand, if all we sing is the wretchedness & sorrows of man, we can lose sight of the hope and assurance we have in Christ and his work on the cross.
This is why hymns are so valuable to the church today. These hymns flesh out the gospel story in such deep and profound ways. Flip through your hymnals or search online sites (like Cyber Hymnal). You’ll find the topics that these texts cover are substantive in both breadth and depth. From praise/adoration to confession to assurance of faith, hymn writers of past have wrestled with many of these Gospel issues.
We sing hymns so we can be reminded of the Gospel. I believe worship and the songs we sing are formative (whether we realize it or not), so feeding our souls with these hymn texts regularly will be beneficial to the body.