Matt Boswell encourages worship songwriting.
I began writing new songs of worship when I was fifteen years old. No one sat me down and said this practice can be a part of growing in Christ, nor explained the spiritual benefits of writing songs. I simply tasted the goodness of God and felt compelled to respond by crafting a new song.
Now, for the last twenty years, I have been trying to bend the English language around for the glory of God and write melodies to encourage the hearts of his people. I know the difficulty and the reward of this labor and, more than ever, I feel the need to sing to the Lord a new song.
The Hymnal’s Not Closed
From the beginning of our history, God’s people have been a singing people. In Exodus 15, Moses stood before the Israelites who had just been rescued from slavery and led them in a new song of praise. In Judges 5, when God powerfully delivered his people from the Canaanites, Deborah and Barak led the people in a new song of salvation. At the dedication of the temple in 2 Chronicles 5, the people sang a new song of God’s love and faithfulness.
The hymnal of the church has no back cover. While the canon of Scripture is closed, our hymnal is an ever-expanding work. We ought to continue to sing the historic songs of our faith, but we should not blush to add new expressions of worship to God. We have many new songs that are helpful, richly theological, and thoroughly biblical.
The “new song” we sing is informed by the “old song” (Exodus 15) and looks with anticipation toward the new song we will sing in the presence of God (Revelation 5:8–10). Through the lens of the past, and with an eye to the future, our songwriting finds its place.
As the timeline of redemption unfolds, culminating in the restoration of all things, God’s people will continue writing and singing new songs.