Jun 02 2011

Music for Little Saints

Published by at 3:10 pm under Motherhood,Music,Parenting

Psalm 9:11
“Sing praises to the LORD, who sits enthroned in Zion!
Tell among the peoples His deeds!”

A number of weeks ago I wrote about how I have been trying to incorporate the Small Child’s Catechism into my discipleship of Gabriel. We haven’t added lots of questions yet, but we’ve got a handful & they’re down pat. Gabriel has also turned a corner in suddenly asking all kinds of questions: mostly about God and heaven and respect and obedience… you know, super good stuff that really challenges this mommy to learn how to put big concepts of Truth into phrases and littler concepts that he can understand and absorb.

Anyway… one of my friends pointed out something in a comment on that previous post that I wanted to follow up on. Music is a truly excellent way to work on discipling our little saints. It’s a truth that I have clung to for years! Back when I was a little girl in Sunday School I struggled to memorize the weekly Bible verses. I have never been known for having a good memory, and memorizing passages of Scripture has certainly never come easily for me. But my dad knew precisely how to help: put the words to music, and I could memorize anything. So he, being a very creative dad/guitarist, would come up with tunes for my verses so that I could literally sing them to my teachers. You know, so I could obtain that oh-so-important piece of candy (or whatever the incentive was…) like the rest of the kids.

Memorizing songs has always been the best way for me to memorize anything. Scripture is no exception. It’s still like that for me even today. I know Psalms better than any other book of the Bible because we have spent over a dozen years singing through psalms in The Book of Psalms for Singing and in Cantus Christi. I also can remember all kinds of random pieces of Scripture that my dad put to music when I was little that he would sing with me and for me almost every day of the year (sweet memories). Things like Isaiah 26:3 and John 17.

Psalm 30:4
“Sing praises to the LORD, O you His saints,
and give thanks to His holy name.”

Gabriel has shown a love of, and talent for, music since he was extremely tiny. He comes by it naturally. :) But we have also worked to inculcate a culture of music into our home ~ specifically Christian music. Now, when I was particularly young, I remember singing along with Psalty the Singing Songbook and The Donut Man ~ and yes, I can still sing some of those ones too! 😉 And while there is nothing wrong with them that I can think of, they aren’t necessarily the best. And why would I want my own son, this little saint who has been entrusted to our care, to have anything but the best I can find for him? Of course, obviously, “the best” will be highly subjective and that’s okay too. My job is to train him for the Kingdom to the best of my ability by God’s grace, in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. My responsibility is before God. Just like yours is. The Lord gives us each wisdom, He directs each of us, and He provides things for our families ~ so I recognize that what may be best for us may not necessarily be best for you.

Psalm 89:1
“I will sing of the steadfast love of the LORD, forever;
with my mouth I will make known Your faithfulness to all generations.”

Filling up our home and our car with Scripture set to music has been such a blessing for us! How thankful I am that I get Scripture stuck in my head throughout the day. What could be better?! Well, I can top that for you: I am even more thankful that I hear my little boy singing Scripture throughout the day. Ah, the glories of a little saint who loves the Lord and loves His music! Gabriel mostly sings music from the Cantus, since that is what he most often hears his parents sing (at church, family worship, bedtime, etc). He knows the Sanctus, the Gloria Patri, the Lord’s Prayer, God that Madest Earth and Heaven, Holy Holy Holy, Psalm 128… I know there are more but they’re slipping my mind at the moment. All this to say: it is truly glorious and rather humbling to hear these praises streaming from the mouth of a little three year old boy from hour to hour throughout the day. He literally goes to bed singing, wakes up singing, and sings two dozen times in-between. During meals, we often have to remind him that he ought to finish eating before he starts another song. 😉

Psalm 98:4
“Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth;
break forth into joyous song and sing praises!”

Another way that we have recently been saturating our home with Scripture put to music, is by the ABC Bible Memory Verse Songs CD that I reviewed not long ago for a homeschooling magazine. I have been delighted to memorize these, and am eager to see Gabriel start memorizing them more as well.

A longer-standing musical presence in our CD library has been a collection of discs by Jamie Soles. While Gabriel used to prefer the more child-geared CDs like “Fun and Prophets” and “The Way My Story Goes” (which have lots of Bible stories put to music, lists of the kings of Israel, the geneology of Christ, the Apostles’ Creed, the books of the Bible, etc) he has recently shown a bigger fondness for the Scripture-set-to-music discs like “Pure Words” and “Ascending.” These are excellent resources for ways to hide the Word in your heart, saturate your children with words inspired by the Spirit, and fill your home with tasteful music.

A few months ago we were given a CD by Nathan Clark George called “Pull Up A Chair.” Our favorite songs on the disc are the ones that are straight from Scripture, or close to it. But his music is another resource for good music for the whole family; not only the texts but the music as well.

I have heard of other good music resources specifically geared toward kids, such as Songs for Saplings and Seeds Family Worship. I have never yet gotten my hands on any of those discs, but have listened to some clips online and think they might be fairly good as well.

Psalm 104:33
“I will sing to the LORD as long as I live;
I will sing praise to my God while I have being.”

I love having music geared for children, but I am an even bigger fan of having music that is appropriate for the entire family. If I’m going to have a little ditty stuck in my head all day, I don’t want it to be something meaningless and annoying (like Pop Goes The Weasel or The Wheels On The Bus or whatever else we all grew up singing!) when I could have it be wonderful gospel-truths or portions straight from Scripture. Teaching our children how to praise God with their hearts and their words and their songs is such an incredible responsibility, privilege, and joy.
How excellent it is to have good things filling our hearts and flowing out from our mouths ~ not to mention, the hearts and mouths of the littles in our homes.

Psalm 8:1-2
“O LORD, our Lord,
how majestic is Your name in all the earth!
You have set Your glory above the heavens.
Out of the mouth of babies and infants,
You have established strength because of Your foes,
to still the enemy and the avenger.”

5 responses so far

5 Responses to “Music for Little Saints”

  1. stefanieon 02 Jun 2011 at 4:38 pm

    how are you doing Melissa? How is the pregnancy and your little one inside?
    Been praying for you!

  2. Samanthaon 02 Jun 2011 at 9:46 pm

    I’m so impressed with how much thought you put into music and what is best!! It sounds like Gabriel is soaking it all up and loving it too. That’s so wonderful! :) And I’ve always loved the idea of putting verses to music. I’m not terribly good at memorizing Scripture either but if I sing it, it really does help! =)

  3. Katrinaon 02 Jun 2011 at 11:18 pm

    Hooray! This post touches my heart, as I firmly believe that I could learn almost anything if it were set to song. Many times during sermons or bible study I will run into a verse I learned years and years ago in song form, and it sets me off singing again. They’re never completely forgotten! If Gabriel ever takes on a theatrical turn as well as musical, he might like GT and the Halo Express. I grew up with these children’s musicals built around scripture songs.

  4. rebson 03 Jun 2011 at 1:06 pm

    Steve Green’s “Hide ’em in your heart” cd is great too!

  5. Alexon 06 Jun 2011 at 12:24 pm

    this is how I learned scripture as well – set to music! what a joy it must be to hear Gabriel singing God’s word and learning truth in such a beautiful, memorable way. I cannot wait to look up some of the resources you mention a little later in our journey.

    My personal favorite as a child was GT and the Halo Express – the series had over 100 scriptures set to song in memorable stories as well. I still sing them today!

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