There's a saying that runs, 'lex orandi, lex credendi', sometimes to which is added, 'lex vivendi'. I don't know Latin, but it means something along the lines of 'what I pray informs what I believe, which informs how I live'. To put it another way: liturgy informs theology which shapes practice.
Or, as one of my college tutors back in the day put it:
The hymns/songs we sing shape what we believe, which affects our values and actions.
Since I came across the idea, I have been pretty much convinced it's valid... however we read the Bible, and whatever we hear in sermons, it's the songs and hymns that stick in our memories, and so impact our thinking, believing and living.
Often I will choose hymns/songs that are aspirational - that express the hope that inspires us, even when the reality has a long way to go.
Two of our 'favourites' are 'All are welcome', and, 'For everyone born a place at the Table'.
What I sing - what we sing - shapes what I/we believe and how I/we live out our faith.
In recent months, we have been joined by numerous new folk, from all sorts of backgrounds and experiences, and it's wonderful.
New children in Sunday School. More nationalities than ever. An overall decrease in our average age, at the same time as a noticeable increase in our average attendance.
And still we will sing these songs. Because as they become more fully our experience, we realise how far we still have to go.
And still we will sometimes get it wrong.
But, by God's amazing grace, we are learning and growing, and becoming more of what we are called to be.