Music in Worship: A Discussion
Since it’s been rather quite around here lately, allow me to
take advantage of open-source thinking and pose a couple questions.
What is the role that music plays in worship?
Is there a difference between playing music in a worship
setting as opposed to other settings?
To elaborate a little:
It is certainly the case that the church can gather for worship, perform
the liturgy, without music.
For example, there is Morning Prayer according to the Book of Common
Prayer. Yet, for the most part,
music is and has been an integral part of Christian worship from the beginning.
The second question comes after a discussion I had at a
gathering of local worship leaders.
We were discussing playing songs written for worship in public settings
like bars and cafes. Shortly
after that, I was rereading Jamie Smith’s “Who’s Afraid of Postmodernism.” In his last chapter describing a
postmodern liturgy, he notes the use of U2’s “40.” A great example, I thought, of a song that can be played in
worship and has certainly been played in a variety of other venues. Is there a (significant) difference?