Sunday, February 18
Note: We asked our writers on Sundays to address the power of psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs in their lives.
Sing unto the Lord a new song,
For the Lord has done marvelous things.
When our congregation was celebrating the 500th anniversary of the Reformation last October, our Minister of Music, Michael McMahon, shared an interesting fact with our choir. Prior to the Reformation, music at Catholic services was only performed by professional musicians. Those attending the services had the role of spectators rather than participants. With his great gift for hymn writing, Martin Luther (1483-1546) revolutionized that dynamic. Suddenly congregations had the gift of great soaring hymns to sing, beloved hymns which we continue to sing today, hallmarked by his classic “A Mighty Fortress is Our God.”
Our own church has a long tradition of using music to create a rich and interactive worship experience. The Sunday order of service interweaves hymns and congregational singing throughout the service. Music moves us through the whole range of spiritual experiences, from praise to reflection to assuredness in going forth as people of faith to meet the issues of our day.
On a personal note, I especially relish the opening hymn, which resonates with joyful praise. (Don’t tell Rev. Gentle, but oftentimes after processing down the aisle with the Sanctuary Choir, singing a great opening hymn such as “Joyful Joyful We Adore Thee,” to the sound of a full pipe organ and robust congregational singing, I feel I have experienced a rich time of spiritual fulfillment, and can go home at that point, having been fully replenished and refreshed.)
Rev. Beau Underwood has rightly said, “We learn our faith from our hymns.” Hymns restore, comfort, and renew us. They are a vital part of our faith journey.
Grant, Oh Lord,
That what we sing with our lips,
We may believe in our hearts,
And what we believe in our hearts,
We may show forth in our lives,
Through Jesus Christ our Lord.
– Kathleen Burger-Gerada