Saturday, October 30, 2004

Notes from the Music Guy III

Last week, I mentioned my Presbyterian upbringing. The most positive aspect of worshiping there was the joyful energetic song from the pews. Those folks knew how to sing hymns, and their love for worship in song was unmistakable.

The Catholic Church, on the other hand, has, in recent history anyhow, only looked to the pews for musical participation for the past 40 years or so. As faith traditions survive by being handed down among families, more than any other way, there’s really no way to graft the Protestant hymn-singing tradition on to the collective Catholic experience. Nor is it necessarily desirable.

What Catholic worship offers us is the opportunity to fully open the Word of Christ, and to tie it to His true Body and Blood, which we experience so profoundly in the Eucharist. By lifting our voices in unison in the Gloria, Eucharistic chants, and hymns, we act as the voice of the Body of Christ. In the dialog of the Psalms, the Alleluia, and the Kyrie, we engage in dialog with The Word itself, and draw not only on our Catholic heritage, but the heritage of our forebears in Faith, the Hebrew people, who first instituted the role of cantor in Temple and Synagogue rites thousands of years ago.

Next week – “What we share with every singing Christian community”

May Christ be the song in your heart,


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