Sunday, July 20, 2008

Singing the Psalms

Instead of a pastor-led study of the Psalms this morning, our Cantor practiced on us his plenary address for the LCMS convention on worship, coming up soon.
  1. Today. Where are we in terms of worship? * Different styles in single churches. "Traditional" = what a church had worked out before adding new styles. Changes were adiaphora (Greek, 'middle things'). But what about new formats? Culture informs these new services; therefore, they are "contemporary"/"relevant." But culture doesn't sing the Psalms. * This practice of adding new formats correlates with lower membership. How could this be (a little tongue-in-cheek)? Do people actually want to work out their disagreements (sorting out adiaphora --> "traditional") rather than have one thing for each person?
  2. Psalms. Sing texts in their exact words and whole meaning. * "New song" = song of salvation. Different tunes, same story. * Sing about "the God who ____" - faith's response. That's why we sing them. * Liturgical correctness? Psalms only "work" if those singing them are God's people - not a tremendously good evangelism tool.
  3. Singing. How? You'll find a way. Remember, though, that words are NOT adiaphora. * Simple is good. If "increasing composition causes decreasing Psalmody," why the many choirs of the Temple in the days of the kings of Israel? * Use skill and practice, musicians! Choices include antiphon-chanting, choir, accompaniment, anthem, refrain-verses, responsive, soloist, Anglican chant, etc. Remember parallelism in Hebrew poetry - a responsive singing style brings this out. Be guided by the text and context. * Music should magnify the Word itself.

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