Friday, September 24, 2010

"Friday Five: We Who Sing Pray Twice"

Mary Beth says: "Music is a part of the human experience, and part of religious traditions the world over. It is evocative and stirring, and many forms of worship are incomplete without it.

Our title comes from a quote popularly attributed to St. Augustine: "He who sings prays twice." A little Googling, however, indicates that Augustine didn't say exactly that. In fact, what he said just doesn't fit well onto a t-shirt. So we'll stick with what we have. "Singing reduces stress and increases healthy breathing and emotional expression. Singing taps into a deep, age-old power available to all of us. When we find our voice, we find ourselves. Today, sing like you mean it." And let's talk about the role music plays in your life and worship."
1) Do you like to sing/listen to others sing? In worship, or on your own (or not at all?) I LOVE music in al forms and find worship without it to be...well a little quiet for my taste.  There is nothing better than singing beautiful music with others in praise and worship.   It's especially good when it is done well, but enthusiasm counts, too. And I sing everywhere.  In church, at home, in the car, in the shower....yep. I'm a singer.

2) Did you grow up with music in worship, or come to it later in life? Tell us about it, and how that has changed in your experience. I grew up RC. We sang. There was no choir in the church of my childhood except at funerals (when it was the seventh and eight graders) and some years at Christmas.  Otherwise it was congregation all the way. Some of my best memories of church are singing beside my mother.

3) Some people find worship incomplete without music; others would just as soon not have it. Where do you fall?  I like me a little music with my church I do.

4) Do you prefer traditional music in worship, or contemporary? That can mean many different things!  It can indeed! Generally I lean to the more traditional. However, I think there is a place in worship for many long as they are well-thought out, well- executed and are a good fit for the time and the place.  Last Easter for example, I had been getting a litte whiney about "blah" church music and was thinking aloud with R about this whole topic...I said I wondered what would happen if a "traditional" Epsicopal service had a praise band infusion.  Well...God having a sense of humor and all, it just so happened that we were visiting R's sister on the other side of the state for Easter...and guess what? Yep! PiscoPraise.  Oh. My. As I said... well-thought out, well- executed.... good fit for the time and the place....yeah not so much! Can you say the Easter Jesus Polka?  But then on the other hand, we did a Celtic Eucharist on St. Patrick's night.  We used both traditional and contemporary Celtic music, I played a bohdran...and we got great feedback...right time, right place, right stuff.

5) What's your go-to music ... when you need solace or want to express joy? A video/recording will garner bonus points! Taize, taize, taize!


Mompriest said...

Nothing like a good Taize service for prayful singing....and I agree, contemporary praise music can be so simplistic in theology and sappy in tune. But it can also be wonderful, when done well, as you say.

Wendy said...

I want to have been at that Celtic Eucharist. Lovely!

Faith Hope Cherrytea ~ said...

loving the celtic ! i posted that as my bonus today :)
did the monk in the world ...
[actually won Christine's book for
the poetry party she does- wild]
seems we're tracking together!

altar ego said...

I really love Taize music. And, what Wendy said!

Mary Beth said...

No choir in the first I thought you meant, no singing! But, the congregation is the choir. I get it. As it should be!

Auntie Knickers said...

Easter Jesus Polka, hm? Well, I did have an opportunity recently to hear some of the "Polka Mass" music from Minnesota's Iron Range and it seemed very appropriate for the place it came from. But I agree -- when "different" music is used, it really has to be well-thought-out and well-executed. As all music should be of course.

Cathy said...

I have been to a high Episcopal African-American church. Very joyful, but for me, not used to either the high or the African-American in Episcopal church, it was different.