St. James’ is known for its excellent music and our choir dazzled in Holy Week. I hope their music and the praises we sing together are helpful in bringing you closer to God, and leading you deeper into prayer.
You may say, “I can’t really sing,” or “I come for the Eucharist, or the sermon, not to sing.” Why do we sing in church at all? Well, because scripture tells us to. For example Paul writes to the Colossians (3:16): “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly; teach and admonish one another in all wisdom; and with gratitude in your hearts sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to God.”
When we worship in community, there is a nervous temptation to lower our voices during the Psalms and the hymns, thinking that those around us will carry the tune. Perhaps we don’t want the person in the pew in front to hear our efforts. I find that I am able to sing our songs of praise better when the person next to me is going for it as well, and that as our voices unite, the song is somehow more powerful and tuneful. Have you had that experience?
Our hymns let the words of Christ dwell in us. Our hymns tell the story of what God has done and is doing! Consider one of our hymns for this Sunday: Christ the Lord is Risen Again. It tells the story of Christ’s victory over death and the redemption of all who believe in Him. The Alleluia at the end of each verse, has us singing praises to God with angel’s voices. Our hymns, our praises to God, tell the story of God among us, they proclaim the mystery of faith, who God is and who we are.
So nervous or not, tuneful or flat, take a deep breath and let us sing our hearts out to God. Let all of us take part in St. James’ great tradition of great music and praise.