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Fourth in a series beginning HERE.
“I stopped beside a Sunday school and listened to the songs they were singing.” — Kristofferson
My father always preferred the Sunday evening service.
The sermon was shorter.
We sang more.
Rather than the Hammond organ, the musician played piano.
We sang audience requests from the little red Cokesbury hymnal.
Members of the congregation shouted out the page numbers.
Dad’s favorite was on page 121, “The Church in the Wildwood.”
One of our neighbors would often request it first–for him.
Making a joyful noise to the Lord is an important part of worship. Singing together is fun.
Heck, even the Church of Christ sings–just a cappella.
The universal language is also perhaps the most ecumenical of all religious practices.
There are of course nuances and local preferences which can become noticeable.
Music in church is like salaries at work.
It’s a hygienic factor. If it’s good, it fits right in and everybody likes it.
If it’s bad, like breath, everyone notices.
Not everyone can sing “How Great Thou Art” like Elvis.
Please, tell the musician to play it upbeat so it doesn’t sound like a funeral dirge.
Volume is another factor.
Many congregants of my generation have begun to experience hearing problems. Be that as it may, we don’t need the organ turned up to “11” when there’s only thirty-seven worshippers in attendance. It would be nice if the volume of the music was balanced evenly with how loud the folks are singing.
And, please, no karaoke! Especially when you have someone available to play the keyboards.
A friend recently commented on a church and said…
“They have a great band.” (sigh) If people are attending to be entertained, the quality of the music would of course be important.
Which do you prefer, congregational singing to a pipe organ led by a hundred member choir?
No choir and we sing to an upright piano that hasn’t been tuned in decades?
Special music from the local university opera’s lead soprano? (Is it appropriate to applaud afterwards? I’ll address this in a future article.)
Do you enjoy an occasional instrumental piece performed by a member of the congregation?
Or maybe a visit from a popular gospel quartet?
What about genre?
Is there a place in today’s worship service for popular music?
In movie theaters, “The Big Chill” included one of Alex’s favorite songs at his funeral.
Indeed, my wife’s funeral included a performance by an accordionist–as she had requested.
The Beatles songs, “The Word” and “All You Need is Love” certainly seem appropriate to this author.
Experience has proven music as a significant aspect of public worship.
It influences attendance.
If the music is the main reason you attend, address your motives and spiritual needs.
Don’t let music keep you from worship. If it does, prayerfully consider your options.
Maybe there’s another church down the road with a better band.
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