A young boy and his mother were on their way home after attending the opera when the boy said, “Mom, that man who did all the singing must think a lot of himself.” “Why would you say something like that?” the mother asked. “Because”, he replied, “Every time the man started to sing, he’d say ‘Me, Me, Me, Meee.'”
We don’t know exactly what songs the first century church had a habit of singing together. We have the book of Psalms, there are sections of scripture that are thought of as recognizable doxologies, and we even have a moment or two when the New Testament scriptures explicitly say certain individuals were singing. But for the most part we don’t have a numbered list of songs (i.e. a modern-day songbook) that identifies what the early church used in worship.
Although we may not be able to “confidently” identify any of the first century church’s songs, we can identify how they were meant to sing … and it wasn’t with the purpose of making it all about, “Me, Me, Me, Meee.”
“speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord,” (Ephesians 5:19 NKJV)
Nothing about the singing of the early church was meant to be egocentric; it was quite the opposite! The early church’s purpose of singing in worship was to remind one another about the higher purpose of living in God’s calling (which is the context of Ephesians 5:19) and to bring, and give, glory to God within their heart. And if our modern-day purpose falls short of the same standard, then it doesn’t matter what song we’re singing, we’re making it about us and not about what God desires.