Let the Music Play!

Today  (July 25th) was a very exciting day. We re-introduced singing for the first time in well over a year. It was the first Sunday after the lifting of lockdown restrictions. What a difference music and singing make, especially having been deprived of singing for so long.

The previous Sunday we had explored the importance of worship and music in a Q+A session during the sermon.

Worship means lots of things to lots of people. For some it is prayer, for others it is singing, for others it is receiving Holy Communion. What does worship mean to you? A congregational member

Worship isn’t an easy thing to define. The old English word ‘weorthship’ means to give worth or value to something. Worship is an offering of praise and thanksgiving to God.

Worship is an intimate encounter with God, a personal encounter with God’s presence. St. Augustus says, ‘Our hearts are restless, until they can find rest in you.’ We meet with God in a deeper way through worship.

Worship is also a feeding our minds and understanding to build our faith. It deepens our spirituality and on-going discipleship.

It is also a duty and service, a discipline whether we feel like it or not because God is God.

Worship is not only personal but corporate. It is an act of giving to God to be shared by all of us. Everyone has their part to play. We are all part of the body of Christ and the word liturgy literally means work of the people.

Worship is on-going – part of continuous stream of worship around the world and in heaven for God’s pleasure. Our worship together makes us a dwelling place for God and we all have a role to play.

However, worship is not just about what we do on a Sunday. It is part of the greater whole. It is about our everyday life – sleeping, eating, gong to work, doing household chores all of which are part of our worship of God.

There are lots of different elements to worship, word and sacrament expressed through liturgy, music, prayer, receiving the sacrament, action and mission which help to reveal who God is and what he has done, giving us fresh glimpse of God.

I haven’t wanted to return to church until we return to singing again because I love the music. To me it has been a nonsense that we haven’t been able to sing. It just doesn’t seem right that that the Scottish football team could singing in a confined space on an aeroplane, some wearing no masks and we can’t sing in church where we are socially distanced, wear masks and all face in one direction. It doesn’t seem right.

From Disgruntled.

I agree, it doesn’t seem right because music is so much part of our worship. However, the guidelines are there to try and protect us also we have tried our best to work within them.

Hymns, over the last lockdown, has been chosen so that we are not tempted to join in singing.  During the times when we weren’t allowed in church, we continued to rehearse  electronically via Zoom. We have recorded music ourselves and Carol, with her tech magic, has woven the contributions together so that we have been able to put hymns on-line.

During part of lockdown, we were allowed to rehearse in church and sing as a choir – as long as we wore face coverings, were socially distanced, sanitised hands and followed the risk assessments. Then we were only allowed have 6 people to rehearsal or sing in church. This meant that the group was split up with half of us on Zoom and half in church. The was a bit of a rebellion as people wanted to rehearse together so, as we are allowed to sing outside, recent rehearsals have taken place in the vicarage garden.

The restrictions on singing will be lifted next week. Alleluia!

We have missed not having music, as well as many other aspects of our usual worship. Why is music so important? Mrs H. Armony

Music creates atmosphere and heightens liturgy and worship. It can keep worship flowing, drawing its parts together as a coherent whole. Music speaks to the soul without needing words, but also aids memory so that we can remember words and scripture.

Music can connect with the full range of human expression, emotions and intellect. It has different forms and genres that can be explored and savoured.  It has a way of uniting the congregation and at the same time respect diversity.

Music has the power to take us beyond ourselves from present reality towards something other worldly. It acts as a hyperlink to God.

John Wesley devised a set of rules for congregational singing (Sacred Melody or a Choice collection of Psalm and Hymn Tunes 1761)

Rule 3: See that you join in with the congregation as frequently as you can.

Rule 4: Sing lustily and with good courage. Beware of singing half dead or half asleep but lift your voice with strength.

Rule 5: Sing modestly. Do not bawl so as to be heard above or distinct from the rest of the congregation … strive to unite your voices together.

Rule 7: Sing spiritually. Have an eye to God in every word that you sing. Aim to please him more than yourself or any other creature.

Interesting!

There are times when I don’t like the hymns chosen. How are the hymns chosen and why? And why can’t we sing ‘Shine Jesus shine’ every other week? Mrs. P. Ano

The hymns are not chosen by any one person, but by a group of people reflecting a range of age and viewpoints. The hymns chosen are based on the liturgical season. Christmas music is very different to that used in Lent. We then look at the theme for each Sunday which is based on the lectionary readings. We then think of the position of the hymn within the service. The post communion hymn is often a quieter more reflective piece of music whereas we try to make recessional hymn uplifting. We also try to get a balance of music – traditional hymns and more modern ones. We use resources provided by the Royal School of Church Music and our hymn books. We then all have to agree!

We try to have a range of music over a period of time. Singing any one hymn every other week is gong to get boring after a time, so we try and make sure we have a wide variety.

Tom, our organist, shared his thoughts on worship, music and faith and spoke about how we chose the organ music for leaving church. We were also treated to a range of music sung by Maggie’s Music Makers (MMMs), including a wonderful medley:

Our Q+A session served as a prelude to our return to singing today, which was great. If you have missed singing over the last year or would like to listen or join in, please come along to our 9.45am service at St. Margaret’s. You will receive a warm welcome. If you would like to know more about MMM’s please contact Carol Porter or any one from our music group.

Happy singing!

Rev Deborah


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