‘Making melody to the Lord with all your heart’ (Ephesians 5:19)
Both church choirs attended the Royal School of Church Music Festival, in Chichester Cathedral, not long ago. It was a great occasion with some really uplifting music. Our Sunday worship would certainly feel odd without music.
Music has long played a role in worship. In the Jewish Temple, at Jerusalem, there was an orchestra consisting of twelve instruments and a choir of twelve. St Paul also tells us that the first Christians sang psalms, hymns and spiritual songs (Colossians 3:16). In our current hymn books we certainly have a lot of English translations of Greek hymns, which were used in the first centuries.
Sadly hymns largely went out of fashion, in Church of England services, from the late sixteenth century until the nineteenth century. Hymn singers were either thought to be guilty of showing too much enthusiasm in worship, or to be guilty of trying to supplement the psalms, which, because they were to be found in the Bible, were considered to be the only thing that should be sung. No doubt when the first hymn books arrived at Catsfield and Crowhurst it caused a stir, but their singing has now become a much loved part of our worship.
A wise writer, St Augustine, commented that ‘he who sings prays twice.’ By that he meant that we often find that the music helps the words to mean even more to us. Music can also do something to us by taking us out of ourselves.
Hopefully what we sing with our lips also has an effect on what we are like inside. It is a joy to hear a wonderful choral performance, but even more pleasing to God if we also ‘make a melody to Him with all our ‘heart’.
Posted By: valerie