A wedding talk: God’s Song

Music is a gift to us from God, and a sign: a creative echo of Him existing in harmony as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The Bible says that when God made everything, “the morning stars sang together” (Job 38:7), and His throne in Heaven is surrounded by creatures singing His praise. There’s an entire book of songs in the Bible which include the instruction to sing new songs (Psalm 96:1), and perhaps most marvellous of all, Zephaniah 3:17 says that God Himself “rejoices over [His people] with singing”.

The song in the video above is Spem in Alium. It was written in the Sixteenth Century by Thomas Tallis, and its name comes from the first line which, translated from Latin into English, is “I have never put my hope in any other but You, O God.” It is sung by 40 voices, arranged in five choirs of eight who sing in turns and together, and this is why I love it: far more than having one, or even several, great melodies, it’s the harmonisation that gives it such power. Harmony is God’s way.

1. In harmony with God
All of us once were broken voices, out of tune with His song and dissonant. But Jesus has changed that. He has healed our voices, and put His song in your heart and on our lips. In marriage, as in all of life, there is nothing more important than this, and nothing could have a greater impact on us. Our first priority is to stay in tune with the song that God has given all His people – the song of the rescued and redeemed. This is the joy of every person who gives their lives to Jesus, and He gives each us all we need to do this.

2. In harmony with the church
A key way to know God’s tune is to be part of His great choir, the church. When we are in harmony with Him, we can be in harmony with His people. The risk of marriage’s great joys and privileges is that we exclude ourselves from those around us: a couple delight so much in the song they’re singing together that they forget that it’s part of a greater piece. Don’t do that. The church carries the tune that you have been called to sing your song within. That’s part of God’s wisdom for you, that you might have others close to you, and the community as a whole, to show you what’s good and what’s not. Listen to your leaders, and married couples whose relationships you admire – keep learning from their experience and example.

You singing within the church’s song is good for you, and it’s good for the church: the song becomes greater because you’re part of it. And above all, your singing as part of it fulfils the great purpose of God for His Church: that she might sing to the world His song of love and restored harmony.

3. In harmony with each other
Having been reconciled to God, and brought into the church, in marriage a couple are united with each other. Within that great song, they have a duet to sing which only death may end. They have vowed to each other and to God to sing together: a solo is no longer an option. Do not start making up your own melody and expect the other to catch up with you, self-centredness destroys marriages and thinking in terms of “me” is the start of disharmony. So make every effort to be in tune with each other:

  • Check frequently how the other is, and how your relationship seems to them, and be open to the question being asked of you. You can’t expect to sing in harmony if you’ve got your fingers in your ears.
  • Pray for each other. God is the great composer and arranger: the closer we get to His heart, the more we’ll know how to sing the song He’s given us, and prayer takes us there. Prayers in marriage may start, “Please change them,” but if we really listen to Him we usually move to, “Please change me, keep me in harmony with what You’re doing.”
  • When you do make a mistake, get back into the tune as soon as possible. When you’re singing and miss a note, you can’t sigh or sulk or start singing something else, you have to get back to the tune and keep going. The beginning of this is asking for forgiveness – and freely giving it.

Finally, remember that God has written this song. Neither wife or husband can claim exclusive ownership of it, or veto each other in it. The Bible says that they belong to each other now, and they both belong to God. If they’ll believe this and live by it, then their singing will be a beautiful duet within the great harmony of God’s song.