Music in Worship

Listen to this week’s Devotional here.

Author: Carolyn Gard

“...all nature sings and round me rings the music of the spheres…

My great-something grandfather was Charles Wesley who, with his brother John, founded the Methodist religion. In addition, Charles wrote over 6,000 hymns. Two of my favorites are ‘Christ the Lord is Risen Today,’ and ‘Hark the Herald Angels Sing.’ Religious music has inspired many of our greatest composers: Bach, Handel, Mozart, Beethoven, Verdi, Brahms, Faure, Brubeck, and Rutter, to name a few. (Forgive me if I left out your favorite composer!)

For a time, I belonged to a church that had no building and very little music. Although it was interesting, it was more like a study group than a worship service. Something was missing for me. After leaving that church and joining First Congregational, I realized that an organ and a whole congregation praising God through singing was what I had missed. The joy of congregational singing is that everyone can sing, and it doesn’t matter if you’re flat or if you can’t get the rhythm. Leave those details to the choir members, who have spent many hours in rehearsing. When we sing together as a congregation something stirs in our hearts and connects us to each other and to God. Congregational singing allows us to participate fully in the service, rather than simply sitting and listening. In addition, people tend to remember the theology they learned by singing hymns more than other ways. (Don’t get me wrong–we need sermons, too!)

Where did music come from, anyway? Did God ‘invent’ it, or did it come spontaneously out of the hearts and minds of people? However it happened, I’m glad we have music. I challenge you all to raise your voices high the next time you are in church. Just sing joyously, and don’t worry about what the person next to you thinks. God hears you.

When a church has an organist who can improvise and also play the Widor ‘Toccata,’ that congregation is truly blessed.

God, we thank you for music. May we continue to let the music bring our hearts to you.


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