Tuesday, June 18, 2013


Think About It

Chaplain Mike hosted a guest post about an understanding of music in worship I am not sure I would sign on to the whole thing because it focuses too much on "style" for my sake. But there are two thing about it to which I am deeply drawn. The first is this:
Our goal as a church is to have one integrated service plan that is repeated as needed (currently two ninety-minute Sunday morning times) that incorporates historic, modern, and global music. Rather than offering a “smorgasbord” of sound (take your pick of what you like–a traditional service of hymns and anthems, or a contemporary service of modern praise and worship), or a blended “soup” (everything is a blend of somewhat classical, somewhat pop, somewhat Broadway middle-of-the-road offend-no-one music), in the context of convergence, we offer musical “stew”–an expression of various styles, all working within a context of taste appropriate for Sunday worship, each with its distinctive flavor, yet a part of the whole in one cohesive “dish”.
The second is this:
The music in our worship will be Christo-centric — in every service we will use music to help retell the story of God’s saving acts throughout history — from creation, the exodus, and other events in Hebrew history, to the incarnation, death, resurrection and reign of Christ and the coming of His Kingdom.
In combination those two statements are powerful, which is where I think the statement is weak - it does not draw the connection between those two thinks. The point is the choice in music is not about what works for us, but about what is expresses about God. The music is not there to express how we feel - but to shape who we are. Further that shaping is to happen on the deepest levels, not the merely emotional or, frankly, the merely intellectual.

They have it right when they talk about how deeply music reaches into our souls - the problem is we make the music light so that we can prevent it from reaching too deep. I think about how much I first learned, whether it be scripture memorization, or deep theological proof long before I could even read because I did remember the hymns we sang. I ask you, does "God is awesome" really convey much? I think about how much "It is well with my soul" communicates about responded to trouble grief and strife - it is deep confession and teeth-grinding effort to come through it, not merely "Sing Hallelujah come on get happy."

It is not about "style."


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