Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Let everything that hath breath praise the Lord!

Everything and everyone. Karen over at Kinesis has a lovely post about finding her voice liturgically and personally. And Kathryn has posted about the music for her first Eucharist. She's absolutely right about a lively choir being able to shape teenage faith, as is her commenter that theology sticks with us more through music than through sermons. It's abundantly clear in classrooms that students retain more through participation in their own learning than they do from sitting and listening to lectures, so why wouldn't it be the same in church?

Whenever I think about great services that, if it pleases God, might be lurking in my future-- a wedding, baptism of my children, ordinations, funerals-- I think about the music. At this point, my wedding will be 4 hours long! Do I really have to choose between Byrd's Great Service (or Taverner's Western Wind Mass), Bairstow's "I Sat Down Under His Shadow", "Set Me as a Seal Upon Thy Heart", "O Taste and See", Verdi's "Laudi Alla Vergine Maria", and lots of hymns-- "Be Thou My Vision", "Immortal, Invisible", "Let All Mortal Flesh", "O Day of Peace" ("Jerusalem" for peaceniks)-- and of course, the really long "St. Patrick's Breastplate"? (On a day when two people are binding themselves together, I love the idea that they'd also be binding themselves to God and all creation.)

Nope, I'll just make sure there are cushions on the pews and cupholders for coffee mugs and tell the congregation to park it for a while. (I'm kidding. Or am I??)


At 9:41 AM, Blogger Kathryn said...

When we got married, my ma in law to be was appalled at the amount of music I was demanding...In the end, it worked a treat (though the organist got lost, so I had no idea when I set out for the church whether I'd be walking down the aisle to Guilmant's March on a Theme of Handel or an embarrassed silence.
A choir of friends sang Byrd's Mass for 4 voices (yup...we had a full nuptial Mass, and very nice it was too!) and during the signing of the registers we had Brahms How lovely are thy dwellings fair!
Karg Elert to go out...and some more excellent hymns (though I did let my poor unsuspecting huband choose one, being generous that way!)Christ is Made the Sure Foundation is a good way to get even the most eclectic congregation sing their heads off, in my experience!

At 10:21 AM, Blogger Anna said...

Precedent! Excellent. I'll just point to you if anyone thinks I'm off my rocker for wanting a full nuptial mass.

And yes, hymns that will get people to sing loudly and lustily are very important. It amazes me, any given Sunday, how many hymns have either incredibly boring tunes that use about three notes, or are incredibly difficult to sing (yes, let's do have the congregation go all the way up to high G!)

At 9:47 AM, Blogger Sophia said...


Just found your blog today and I have to say I really like it! I've only recently gotten into the whole blog universe. I wish I had done this much sooner. I'm the only person in the priesthood discernment process in my little corner of the universe, and it can get rather lonely. Finding blogs from newly ordained clergy, people in seminary, people in the process, people just trying to find their way, etc. has been very helpful!

When I named my blog I had no idea there were so many singing people out there. :-)


Also, I have a brother in law (Craig) and two friends (Chris and Cindy) who attend Swarthmore in the late 90's and early 00's. Wonder if you know them?

At 9:52 AM, Blogger Sophia said...

Almost forgot - we spent hours picking out music for our formal, candlelit, long wedding with Eucharist.

The sad reality is that I barely remember hearing most of it - I was that excited/happy!

Last week we sang "Joyful, joyful" at the 10 AM service and I got really excited to actually be focused enough to sing the entire thing. We had it at our wedding but I barely heard it at the time.

At 9:05 PM, Blogger Anna said...


Thanks for the comments! A candlelit wedding sounds marvelous. Clearly I need to find myself a man so I can use all these good ideas!

I don't remember a Craig (not that that means much-- I'm bad with names) but I knew a Chris who graduated in '99 who I've heard is engaged to a Cindy of '02-- does that sound like your friends?

At 2:20 PM, Blogger Sophia said...


Those are most definitely my friends! Cindy and i worked together for over a year. They live on the west coast where Cindy is in grad school. They got married a couple of weeks ago, and I'm going to their east coast reception on Sunday. Small world!

At 3:16 PM, Blogger Anna said...

Oh, how fun. Please tell them I said hello and many congratulations! (I'm pretty sure they'll remember me. My last name's in my email address in my profile.)

At 9:17 PM, Blogger Emily said...

I'm so glad you stopped by to visit my blog and how wonderful to find another Julianesque blog.

David and I will have to renew our vows soon so we can have more music.

At 9:13 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

Anna, I am enjoying your blog! As a small church UCC pastor, I had to learn to live without the large, impressive choir and the momentous congregational singing that had marked good worship for me. There are Sundays when I find myself longing for the "old," but there is much to be valued in the new as well. Still, if God were to call me to a large church with beautiful music, I would run straight there!


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