The Beauty Of The Human Voice In Singing
Tom M. Roberts
Mankind was made in the image of God (Gen. 1:26) and designed with a spiritual understanding (Eccl. 3:11). While there are many robots created by God (animals, plants, stars, etc.) only man is a free moral agent, capable of rendering to God worship of his own free will. A “robot” does what God programmed it to do: roses bloom, planets orbit, animals follow instinct: they exist without choice. Only man has free will.
The worship of God is spiritual (John 4:24) and involves the heart (spirit) of man. Nothing expresses this more than Christians singing “with the spirit and understanding” (1 Cor. 14:15). Singing to God is part of the New Testament order and churches of Christ do not use mechanical instruments when they sing. “Mechanical” describes devices devoid of spirit or understanding. Thus, we are known for our a cappella music. Included below are songs with the human voice “sing and make melody in the heart” (Eph. 5:19). To further your knowledge of this and other questions: “search the scriptures to see if these things are so”Acts 17:11). Some of this music is from congregations (the whole church) and some from individuals. Both are avenues of worship to God in song.
Please note that a cappella singing is singing with the voices God gave us and not with mechanical instruments. Such singing illustrates the beauty of the human voice as God made it in spiritual service to our Creator. We pray that you are blessed as you listen (or sing along with) these voices who are praising God.
"REMEMBER WHO YOU ARE"
“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven” (Matt. 5:16)
One song which emphasizes the importance of remembering to let our light shine before men is “Remember Who You Are.” The text was written by Sister Jean Blackford of Owensboro, KY. The tune was composed by Roger Hillis,, who in 1989, began preaching at the Westside church in Owensboro.
While at Westside, Brother Hillis often made the closing announcements and would end with the words, “Remember who you are.” An elderly member, Jean Blackford (who was the mother of gospel preacher Dick Blackford’ and an excellent poet) took the phrase, at Roger’s suggestion, and wrote a poem from it which he then set to music.
The song came to the attention of R.J. Stevens (1927-3012). Stevens improved the harmony and several churches began singing the song. Later, Stevens modified the music, to make it more congregational friendly and published this new arrangement in the 2007 Hymns for Worship Supplement, where it is marked “Copyright 1992.” So, there are two versions of the song, the original and the one in the supplement. Several have said that they prefer the original version, and that is the one that the Florida College Alumni Chorus has recorded on two different compact discs. Some people thought that Stevens took away the pep of the original and slowed it down too much.
Jean Blackford has since passed on to her reward. Bro. Hillis, who is also the author of a Bible study book, One Another Christianity: Restoring Life-Changing Relationships in the Church moved to Louisville, KY, in 1999 to help care for aging in-laws. At that time, he began working at a local pharmacy and also preaching for the Expressway church in Louisville. In 2015 Hillis moved to work with the Eastland church in Louisville as one of the evangelists.
The song seeks to remind us of who we are as Christians.
I. Stanza 1 tells us that we are creatures made in God’s image:
"In His image God created you.
In new birth He gave you life anew.
His matchless love you now proclaim,
You must live to glorify His name."
II. Stanza 2 says that we are beings bought and redeemed by the blood of Christ:
"You were bought at such an awful price,
Redeemed by the precious blood of Christ;
Humbly obedient, freed from sin,
Peace and hope, and joy and love within."
III. Stanza 3 points out that we are lights in the world:
"Let your light be bright, steadfast and true.
Live so others will see Christ in you.
Your life a sermon sinners see,
What the Christian life is meant to be."
The chorus exhorts us to remember these things that we might be true followers of Christ:
"Christian, remember who you are today,
As you follow Him along the way.
Tho’ the way seems dark and the journey far,
Strength comes when you remember who you are."
For those of us who are Christians, Satan has many devices at his disposal to help us forget what it is that God wants us to be. So if it is our aim to do what God desires us to do in this life and have the hope of heaven, each one of us needs to heed the admonition, “Remember Who You Are.”
(What follows is the original version.)
A Cappella Hymns - Part Singing by Elliot Bowman
These hymns are a product of an ongoing project by Elliot Bowman from Clarksville, TN. He records hymns in 4-part harmony and posts them with sheet music on YouTube.com
so that listeners can sing along to learn to harmonize better,
learn new songs, or just listen for enjoyment.
Elliot has been a church brother and song leader for many years and has a passion for hymns, new and old.
To visit his YouTube channel, visit:
A Cappella Congregational Singing
by members of the
Mulvane church of Christ,