What Is the Place of Music in Worship?

by Dec 11, 2020Blog, The Wisdom of the Saints0 comments

What Is the Place of Music in Worship?
As the people of God, generally, we sing. The significance of music in worship is more theological. After the people of Israel escaped from the Egyptians and crossed the Red Sea, they sang a song to God. It seems that singing has become an important part of worship in Israel, not only in the temple but also in the tabernacle. The Psalms exhibit intense testimony that in joy, praise, and even in sorrow and lament, the faithful always lift their voices in song to the Lord. During ancient times, Jesus and his disciples also practiced hymn singing.

The Role of Music in Worship According to Theological Reflections

Music has always played a vital role in our life as God’s people. Today, modern technology and contemporary culture have brought new challenges and possibilities to the music ministry of the church. Our lives have always been surrounded by music, from radio, television, synthesizers, and CDs, to the background music of shopping malls and video games.

Yet, most of the time, music is treated as a background factor instead of an opportunity for serious listening and participation. Aside from the church, there are other great opportunities where people can sing together, for instance, in North American culture. Most of the popular music that we hear today, including Christian music, is designed for performance rather than for participation.

Nowadays, we have observed that the church has expanded its access and they are now more open to the different varieties of music, from Christian rock, South African choruses, to European cantatas and classical hymnody. These diversities have been embraced and celebrated. It also shows the richness and diversity of God’s creation.

However, a wide variety and choices in music require great care and perception in planning as well as in implementing the music in the church. As God’s people, we sing, how we sing, and what we sing are important issues to consider.

Music is a gift of God

The fact is it is part of the created order. It all began from its inception to its consummation; creation is musical. Human music coordinates with the music of creation and discovers the beauty, order, and diversity of God’s creation.

Among all the musical instruments used in praising God, the human voice excels

Other instruments are often used in singing to God. Nevertheless, according to Karl Barth, a reformed theologian, singing is not a choice for the people of the Lord. The fact of the matter is that it is considered one of the important ministries of the church.

We have seen the Christian church sing. However, this is not a choral society, this is not simply singing at a concert. It comes from within. Do you know that singing is considered the highest form of human expression?

When the people are not actually singing in church, and instead, they are simply mumbling and sighing, then it can be considered a troubled community that is unsure of its cause. One of the most indispensable forms of praising God is through singing from the ministry of the church.

Among all the musical instruments used in praising God, the human voice excels

Singing is a ministry intended for all the people of God

The mission of choirs and musicians is to help the people of God in their worship. Although instrumental solos and vocals might be provided, you don’t have to rely only on these. It can be considered essential to perform congregational singing. While it is fine to engage yourself in prayer and worship while you are listening to a solo, a type of worship that does not include the opportunity for all the members to join in singing can be considered as impoverished worship. Additionally, it is likely that the faith of the people and the life of the church will suffer if you do not participate together as one.

Singing is the best form of worship since it is more associated

Ultimately, singing is the art form that is more suitable for expressing the unity of the church in the body of Christ. When different instruments, different voices, and different parts are blended, it offers a single, unified, and living work of beauty.

John Calvin believed that the power of harmonious prayer and congregational singing has greatly helped the church in experiencing and expressing the unity of the body of Christ. Calvin affirms that the human tongue is specially designed for proclaiming the praise of God, either through conversing or singing.

He also noted that the main purpose of the tongue is for public prayers offered in the group of the believers. Consequently, with one common voice, we can certainly glorify God together, we can worship Him in the same faith and spirit.

The purpose of the church’s ministry of song is to glorify God

Congregational singing is mainly intended for the Lord. First of all, music is made for the Lord, and secondary for each other. Music should be able to express and communicate the wonderful and inspiring presence of God. It should be able to direct our thoughts toward God instead of toward ourselves.

Beautiful music can glorify God and a pleasing melody can uplift the spirit. However, it is essentially through the merging of the tune and the words that give meaning to Christian songs. The blending of text and tune can glorify God, but it should be consistent with one another. The fact is that the tune must be able to serve the text.

Music is considered as the servant of the Word. But Calvin warned that we should be careful when our ears are becoming more attentive to the melody rather than our minds to the spiritual meaning of the words. Such songs are primarily created for the delight of the ear and may not be suitable for the majesty of the church, as a result, it can displease God in the highest degree.

The purpose of the church’s ministry of song is to glorify God

The church’s ministry of song is dedicated to the edification of God’s people

Congregational singing does not only help in expressing Christian faith, but it is responsible for forming this faith. This is because people are more likely to remember the theology that they sing rather than the theology that they hear in a preach. A congregation’s collection of hymns is often more crucial in forming the faith of its people.

Then again, it is the meaning of the words that are of great importance. It is through these words that as God’s people, we learn to embrace the character and nature of God and the Christian life. Take note that if a person prays in a tongue, then the spirit also prays, however, the mind will turn out to be unfruitful. As Apostle Paul says, “I will sing with the spirit and I will sing with the mind as well.”

Christian hymns are comprised of some of the most precise, deep doctrinal and devotional concepts of the church. Congregational songs can help God’s people in learning their language about God, at the same time, God’s people can learn how to talk with God.

The songs of worship can help in encouraging faith. Therefore, the congregation must use rich vocabulary when praising. Repetitive, simple music such as Taize chants and praise choruses are very suitable for worshipping and are very effective in enticing people to praise and to pray.

However, it is also important that the congregation is aware of some of the great hymns of faith to make it feel like there is a sense in Christian faith since it is enduring and relevant too. At the same time, they will be enriched with faith. Hymns, whether they are modern or ancient can improve our vocabulary, stretch our minds, learn about the biblical story, and most of all, teach us the nature and acts of God. These are relevant to the congregation’s growth in faith.

The church’s ministry of song is dedicated to the edification of God’s people

The emotional power of music, when properly employed, is essential in helping us to worship

Music, apart from the words being sung, is capable of expressing powerful emotions. Some music can make us tap our feet while others can melt our hearts or move us to tears. Calvin admitted that there is emotional power in music, and this is the reason why singing instead of saying the Psalms in the church is practiced in the church in Geneva.

Such singing can provide us with grace and dignity towards our sacred actions. It has superior value in kindling our hearts and inspiring us to pray. Indeed, music can encourage piety. Also, depending on the mood of the music, it can move people to love, adoration, thanksgiving, penitence, and other types of emotions.

If you love God, then you are encouraged to sing until you feel that your hearts have ascended to your tongues. Ultimately, it is crucial that the emotional mood of music commensurate with the sense of the words. Additionally, when it comes to music in worship, the emotional power must be more evocative rather than manipulative. It must be honest and not manufactured. The congregation’s singing should show a full range of emotions in worshipping God.

If you want to be inspired by Christian songs, then you can visit angelusmusic.com. We have a variety of music that can move you to praise and pray to God.