Tuesday, August 25, 2009

United in liturgy

Amid the challenges and divisions of recent days, many people have noted that scripture and sacrament are unifying factors of our church. As a liturgi-geek extraordinaire I wish more people would take notice of music as well.

On Sunday, we gathered to sing the same text and tunes as every other Sunday this summer. ELCA churches across the country were singing the "ordinary" parts of the service: kyrie, gloria, sanctus, and agnus. The familiar texts unite us and reinforce the core tenets of our faith.

I couldn't help but notice the particular strength and enthusiasm of the singing during our communion hymn: "How Great Thou Art." It was great to hear voices unite on such a favorite old hymn. I hope everyone enjoyed singing it and that the sense of timeless community was as strong as I sensed it to be from the organ bench.

To put a spin on an old cliche: the congregation that sings together, stays together.

I also want to thank Mary for singing this past Sunday. It was great to hear some Bach and have an opportunity to accompany on the harpsichord as a change of pace.


  1. In our society that is so fractured by different social and political ideas, it is a real blessing to be united through the liturgy and the hymns, not only with one another in our congregation and in the ELCA, but with Christians throughout the world. Thanks for reminding us of that Tom.

  2. Not only are we united with those around us, but we are connected in a mystical way with those who have gone before and made our lives possible. To realize that we are sharing ideas with the founders of Christianity centuries ago is a humbling and yet thrilling experience.