I tend to forget how “new” the concept of congregational singing in worship really is. There’s lots to be said about the history, but part of Martin Luther’s stand against the Catholic church was the initiation of singing in a language that the people understood (the Mass is in Latin, and at that time, most people didn’t speak or understand Latin), but also to include the singing of the people in worship services. Then again, Martin Luther at the time also thought that organs were basically an instrument of the devil (some would probably still say this is true today!). 🙂
Anyway, John Wesley was actually an important person with the protestant development of congregational singing, and he urged worshipers to stand while they sang hymns. This was in the 18th century, not really that long ago, in the scope of time.
John Wesley also gave some pointers and guidelines for singing, “Sing lustily and with good courage. Beware of singing as if you were half dead, or half asleep; but lift up your voice with strength. Be no more afraid of your voice now, nor more ashamed of its being heard, than when you sung the songs of Satan” -1761.
I’m not sure what he means by the songs of Satan, but maybe we could apply that to secular music today? Gosh there are LOTS of great songs on the radio that are songs you just sing out without any fear (unless the window in your car is down)… so why should our worship be quiet on Sunday mornings? And why are we always “half dead or half asleep”? This is a call to let our praise be loud, exciting, and full of DRUMS I say! (Interesting but here’s a fact about faster music, “Some churches use drums in worship; a beat slightly faster than of the human heart enlivens a group of people, gets them on their feet, and unites them into one vibrant body” -Gail Ramshaw).
Anyway, just a few thoughts to share with you all.
Hope you have a blessed Thanksgiving!