Who are those people up front singing, playing instruments, and ringing? Why are they doing that?
At St. Peter’s we’re lucky to have no fewer than 6 choirs who meet regularly. Those groups, coupled with the New Day band, provide a lot of opportunities for there to be people up front making music during worship. But, hang on a second, why are those people up front making music anyway?
Musical leadership at church is essential to good worship practice. At St. Peter’s, musical groups gather on a regular basis to prepare to lead all the gathered people in song. Whether it’s a praise song at New Day or a “good old” Germanic hymn at traditional worship, the musical groups are there primarily to help us all sing. Did you know that the choirs work through the hymns for most every Sunday to be sure they are ready to help lead them?
At traditional worship, the choir also often takes up leading the appointed psalm for the day. The psalm is one of our primary texts and its one of the places in worship where God speaks to us directly. Wow! That’s a big responsibility. With a variety of psalm settings, it’s the choir’s job to help the people who have gathered for worship to sing these words to one another in meaningful ways.
A musical group often presents some music while an offering is gathered. On the one hand, this piece of music can seem like it’s filling some time and space; and that’s because it is! On another hand, this music is often chosen specifically to go with the themes for the day. Whether the group is lifting up a tune we just sang or presenting a text that might help us understand God’s will communicated through the readings that day, this piece of music is not entertainment. It’s a chance to experience a new thought and to think about how we might be changed as a result.
Of course, we appreciate the time and talents of all our musicians at church. We’re not doing it to get extra attention, but rather out of a desire to improve the worship and faith lives of all who are gathered. That said, the next time you feel especially moved by a piece of music, take a risk and tell your musical brothers and sisters in Christ about it. While it’s never expected, the small act of being grateful can sometimes move mountains. Remember, it’s the little things that matter.