The Psalmist cries: My heart and my flesh sing for joy.
Songs and singing, music and hymns are so much a part of our Christian legacy and worship life that we probably could not imagine a worship service without some sort of music, be it chanting or humming, a capella or accompanied. Much of the responsibility for the music in our worship goes to our music directors who serve our churches, mostly part-time. Their responsibilities might include a three-person cherub choir that sings hands clasped in soft beautiful lisps, or an intergenerational bell choir, or a 30 plus part singing choir. The sizes of our choirs and the music they sing is as varied as the size and ethos of our churches. Our worship styles include praise bands, folk music, Celtic fiddlers, classical string quartets, jazz trios and the ubiquitous organs. From Van Morrison to Buxtehude or Bach, to Leonard Cohen and St. Ann’s Reel we are transported in worship by the sounds of our music directors working hard to produce with whatever musical resources they have.
Did you know that there is a United Church of Christ Musicians organization? (uccma.wildapricot.org)
They are open to all musicians serving UCC churches. They provide resources such as: hiring musician protocols, a place to advertise for a music director, gatherings for support and workshops on new and innovative ways to advance music in worship, and most of all, they provide support in a collegial and disciplined setting about what it takes to lead a church’s music program. They offer members newsletters, a journal and lots of other resources. If your church musician is not a member you might consider advocating for the church to pay the membership fee and help fund raise so he or she can attend one of the UCC Musicians’ national gatherings.
Martin Luther, the great reformer and author of many hymns, said: Beautiful music is the art of the prophets that can calm the agitations of the soul; it is one of the most magnificent and delightful presents God has given us.