Singing in Spirit and in Truth
Lift up your hands; turn toward God
With all your soul and mind.
Tread rightly before God; ask from the heart
And thank Him for His goodness:
Then [your song] sounds well, if filled with joy.
Otherwise your singing has neither tone nor sound
But is only thrashing of the tongue.
Only the heart can sing that which rings true before God;
Your mouth is but the interpreter
If your heart is grounded in the law of the Lord
As your mouth moves.
When the Covenant of Christ is but seized by the mouth,
What one's vulgar mouth mutters does not chane the heart.
God says, "Depart, you mockers."
Christ punishes harshly this improper practice
Which Satan's mob carries on.
As Paul also rebukes the man that so slothfully
As in this present distress,
Perfect syllables and sounds forth without spirit,
Going about in form--all is filthy,
Though they sing beautifully.
A work without faith fails the test
As Cain's followers sing and do.
You must be Abel, here without fail
Who without guile does what is good.
Unto Thee the heavenly host give glory
With heart and tongue, old and young,
Through Jesus Christ. Amen.
-Sebastian Franck (1499-1542)