I had a meeting today with the Scout group that is organising the St George's day service with me on the issue of FORGIVENESS and we got to discussing the music for the service. This is a service which welcomes 500 young people and leaders into our church and as much as we can make the content welcoming and the service sheet friendly together with a page to colour for the Beavers and yougner Cubs, the issue of music is ALWAYS difficult. What songs and hymns will "everybody know"?
This evening a group of us were picking hymns for the services in April and the same issue arose.
We're no longer in a position to assume that there is a "common hymnody" (as my friend called it) in our society. Gone are the days when we could guarantee that young people or adults would KNOW certain hymns or songs. Many people of my generation will not have sung many or any songs and hymns at school. I remember the repertoire at my secondary school consisting of three songs and one hymn. I imagine, in fact, that our school was unusual for having Christian assemblies. This must be even more rare now.
So how DO we select music for these events? People feel the NEED for there to be singing but what do we choose?
Surely we have to face the fact that for many young people, and indeed adults, the concept of a large group of people all singing together at anywhere other than a large sports event is completely alien.
I will be playing some music on CD for people to listen to (a few ideas for this but any suggestions will be accepted!) but we still have three places in the service where we have put a "hymn" and I STILL need to find something to put there. Ideas anyone?