Sacred music - anyone else need a break from all the heavy world events?

The fellowshipping and sermon. Especially the interactions of others getting along well.

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My lifelong role in church is leading music. And also writing songs, hymns, psalm settings: published examples in Psalms for All Seasons.

So you might expect me to disagree with you. Actually I fully sympathise and agree with you!

Why? So much of modern church-music culture is subconsciously focussed on producing an emotional experience. This is then claimed by its adherents to be “worship”. It sounds as though that leaves you stone cold. Well, me too.

Music needs to be well-placed in a well-thought through liturgy. And most churches have more or less thrown this out, resulting in the music being disconnected from the subtle weave of well-crafted liturgy, and reduced to singalong feel-good karaoke.

(Cynical? Moi?)

So I will simultaneously:

  • fully defend and encourage the role of music in liturgy
  • fully sympathise with you and others whose received experience of church music has been lacking in that regard.
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Do you mean to say that singing the same 5-word-phrase , “Slower with more feeling,” 27 times is not equivalent to worship? Cynical? Moi?
It’s great to hear about your work in worship music.
If this is your info, David Lee | Hymnary.org, I did find a single sample of a hymn recorded. Really beautiful.
I miss using the written music in the hymnal. As an alto I have had to learn to sing parts to save my sanity, but I’m not great, and singing by ear is hard, when you’re winging it. Different every time. Poor folks in front of me get the ok along with some very obvious tonal experiments gone wrong.

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Yaassss! Solid sermons and good fellowship are key.

We have been without a Sunday school class for over 2 years, and now that we are long term visitors, we hardly know anyone at church. It’s not a great feeling at all. I think my husband and I are at different places on this right now. I feel more displaced than he does.

Your comment brought this psalm to mind.

Psalm 133 A song of ascents. Of David.
1 How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity!
2 It is like precious oil poured on the head, running down on the beard, running down on Aaron’s beard, down upon the collar of his robes.
3 It is as if the dew of Hermon were falling on Mount Zion. For there the LORD bestows his blessing, even life forevermore.

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@Kendel: Yes, that’s me:

Those are (most of) the subset of writings that are formally published in hymnbooks.

There is a whole lot that’s more not formally published, but freely available at my own website: http://servicemusic.org.uk/. And this has written scores for you! Hymns, songs, psalm settings, anthems, liturgical settings, etc.

And that does include some recordings, but only a small number, because I’m not a recording-level performer.

This one, In chaos and nothingness, is of particular relevance here, as it was specifically written to be both deeply rooted in scripture and fully affirming of modern science. BioLogos themselves used it at an annual conference a few years ago.

Feel free to explore and use.

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Oh wow! Thank you, David, for all these links.
Thanks for directing me to In Chaos and Nothingness. While it’s easy to get lost in the arguments about what is real, and how to understand all things related to God and salvation, because scientific discovery and other serious research have forced us to reconsider the meaning of the limited revelation we have about God, I think it’s essential for Christians to continually redirect our attention and focus away from the arguments and back to our object of worship.

God’s reworded, essential question in your hymn provides us good guidance:

O Lord, where were we when you laid the foundations of earth?
When morning stars harmonised song, when the oceans burst forth?

AIG may attempt to co-opt this question, but they use it improperly. As Job (the man or the myth or the legend) was forced to humbly face the limits of his knowledge and understanding of all things, so must we. Meanwhile, our God is trustworthy. He is not dependent on us overcoming our limitations.

Thanks a lot!

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I’ve been liking this rendition of When You Believe (from Prince of Egypt) recently. <3

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