Tips & Tricks #8: SING HIS PRAISES…LITERALLY

Welcome to Tips & Tricks #8:

SING HIS PRAISES…LITERALLY

king's college choir

One of the best ways to learn something is to sing it. Isn’t that how most of us learned our ABC’s? Creating an Anglican home consists of bringing the faith and the things of God into the home. We sing a lot of our Daily Office (Morning, Evening and Night Prayer). It helps me memorize the prayers and allows me to meditate on them. I find myself with the melodies stuck in my head and the words just naturally accompany the tune.

But an issue that has come up recently is the importance of singing the RIGHT kind of music. The idea that there is an objectively superior kind of music, especially when distinguishing what kind of music is fit for the worship of Almighty God, is something I’ve been struggling with.

As I have mention before in a previous post, I come from a Baptist tradition of worship. The kind of music taught and sung in a Baptist church is more contemporary and more casual. A huge difference I noticed when entering the Anglican tradition was the solemnity and reverence that Anglican music evoked. I must admit that though it is catchy and fun to worship at a Baptist church, I rarely found myself in solemn reverence for God. I did feel connected, loved, in awe of His greatness and sacrifice, healed, thankful, and excited. But the error of that kind of worship is the emphasis on feelings and emotions.

The purpose of worshiping on a Sunday morning is to bring God honor and praise, not to heal me individually or even necessarily to push me towards holiness (let’s leave that for Sunday school, Bible study and other prayer times). I explained this position on a previous post, Is Liturgy Important?. Music to worship God is very similar! Is the music we sing on a Sunday morning bringing glory to God? Or is it a string of repetitive phrases that brings more meaning and evokes feelings for us? Even if the text is very worshipful and deep, is the musical tune, the instrumentation and the harmony provoking the right spirit within us?

There are some obvious kinds of music that are inappropriate and do not honor God. However, among the contemporary Christian movement, music written for church has become more and more like ‘secular’ music (music not written for God). The instrumentation, the form, the chord progressions, and even the style of clothing of these contemporary worship bands look very similar to non-Christian bands. I believe that though the message behind these worship bands is meant to bring God glory, it is not the kind of music good for a corporate Sunday morning worship service.

If we exclude Sunday morning service, I believe there is room for listening to and worshiping with this contemporary style of music. However, I am tempted to say that everyone should learn to experience and worship God through a higher level of music. We shouldn’t be content to stay where we’re at with our understanding of God. Just like the early scientists believed in studying the world in order to learn more about God’s creation, we should all be interested in learning more about music in order to know God more. Traditional Anglican music is elevating, beautiful, and perfected. If you’ve never heard an anthem by Thomas Tallis, you haven’t experienced the beauty of music!

Therefore, the tip of this week is to sing. The best way to do this is to get yourself a hymnal. We use the 1940 Hymnal with the supplemental tunes in the back. It includes the Gloria, several settings of the Nunc Dimittis, the Magnificat and many more. If you do not know how to read music, I encourage you to look at A Cradle of Prayer. It has an huge list of recorded musical settings of prayers and hymns. And simultaneously, I recommend you to start learning how to read music. It isn’t as daunting as it seems.

Previous Tips & Tricks:

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2 thoughts on “Tips & Tricks #8: SING HIS PRAISES…LITERALLY

  1. Pingback: Tips & Tricks #10: WHAT TO DO WHEN YOU JUST CAN’T SLEEP | The Anglican Mom

  2. Pingback: Tips & Tricks #11: MOVING TO THE UK FROM THE US | The Anglican Mom

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