Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Sing it again

I posted a few days ago about singing in church and whether we should, what we should etc.

Last night I finally had time to read a little more of Bonhoeffer’s Life Together which I am finding immensely useful (despite the inherent masculinity of the text, thought I am getting over my issues with that!) and there was a section on singing:

"Why do Christians sing when they are together? The reason is quite simply, because in singing together it is possible for them to speak and pray the same Word at the same time; in other words, because here they can unite in the Word. All devotion, all atention should be concentrated upon the Word in the hymn. The fact that we do not speak it but sing it only expresses the fact that our spoken words are inadequate to express what we want to say, that the burden of our song goes far beyond all human words. Yet we do not hum s melody, we sing words of praise to God, words of thanksgiving, confession, and prayer. thus the music is completely the servantof the Word. It elucidates the Word in its mystery... It is the voice of the Church that is heard in singing together. It is not you that sings, it is the Church that is singing, and you, as a member of that church, may share in its song. Thus all singing together that is right must serve to widen our spiritual horizon, make us see our little company as a member of the great Christian Church on earth, and help us willingly and gladly to join our singing, be it feeble or good, to the song of the Church." (Life Together, II The Day with Others)

Whilst I’m talking about Bonhoeffer, the part on PSALMS is just fantatstic, calling them the prayer book of Christ. I have ALWAYS had trouble with what I’ve considered the WHINGING psalms and what felt to me like the lack of HOPE they expressed. However Bonhoeffer’s description of them as the prayers of Christ and our opportunity to pray them through him and through his true and proper persecution, deprivation and loss was enlightenment to me.

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