Recent studies have demonstrated the powerful physical and mental benefits of singing. Singing boosts oxygen levels in the blood and lowers levels of stress and anxiety. Singing together with a group increases a sense of belonging and community. One study even compared the benefits of singing in a choir to a kind of group yoga that brought a calming effect to all participants as they synchronized their breath and sound.
This time of year, songs abound. Whether caroling out in the community or coming together for sing-alongs, we love to join the song. According to the prophet Zephaniah, we aren't the only ones who love to sing. God, too, joins in with full voice, exulting over us with loud singing. What are the health benefits when God adds the divine voice to our song? Our salvation. We experience divine music therapy that brings healing and comfort to our weary souls and restores our identity as God's beloved ones.
Zephaniah 3:14-20 (NRSV)
14 Sing aloud, O daughter Zion; shout, O Israel! Rejoice and exult with all your heart, O daughter Jerusalem!
15 The Lord has taken away the judgments against you, he has turned away your enemies. The king of Israel, the Lord, is in your midst; you shall fear disaster no more.
16 On that day it shall be said to Jerusalem: Do not fear, O Zion; do not let your hands grow weak.
17 The Lord, your God, is in your midst, a warrior who gives victory; he will rejoice over you with gladness, he will renew you in his love; he will exult over you with loud singing
18 as on a day of festival. I will remove disaster from you, so that you will not bear reproach for it.
19 I will deal with all your oppressors at that time. And I will save the lame and gather the outcast, and I will change their shame into praise and renown in all the earth.
20 At that time I will bring you home, at the time when I gather you; for I will make you renowned and praised among all the peoples of the earth, when I restore your fortunes before your eyes, says the Lord.