Words and Music

I ought to mention the part that music plays in Christian services. Actually, it’s a very big part!

Sunday services in the average Christian church normally consist of a “hymn sandwich”.

You go in. You sit down – anywhere, because nobody minds. And then, at the start of the service, you stand up again and sing a hymn. It might be an ancient hymn in old-fashioned language, or it might be a modern worship song, complete with dancing and clapping. But it will almost certainly be sung in the local language.

Then will come a prayer – again, in the local language. There was a time when the more traditional churches would have said their prayers in Latin, but not any more. Some churches use prayer books, so that everyone reads out the written prayers in unison, but most churches have a man (or woman) at the front who makes up a prayer as he (or she)  goes along.

Then comes another hymn.

Then, perhaps, they’ll take a collection.

Another hymn. (You be thinking there’s a lot of hymns, but I like them because it means that everyone present is getting involved in worshipping Allah.)

More prayers, led from the front.

A passage from the Bible will be read. Again, it will in the local language.

Then the sermon, which will a talk based on the passage which has just been read.

And finally, another hymn.

Some points to note: the hymns are all accompanied by music. Traditionally, the music was provided by and organ. But things are changing and more popular instruments are being brought into the churches, like pianos or other keyboard instruments, guitars, trumpets and drums.

Looking now at the range of hymns available: some are very old. The following hymn is based on a psalm the David wrote while he was himself looking after his father’s sheep. That means that it dates back to about 1000 BCE.

The Lord’s my Shepherd, I’ll not want;
He makes me down to lie
In pastures green; He leadeth me
The quiet waters by.

My soul He doth restore again,
And me to walk doth make
Within the paths of righteousness,
E’en for His own name’s sake.

Yea, though I walk in death’s dark vale,
Yet will I fear no ill;
For Thou art with me, and Thy rod
And staff my comfort still.

My table Thou hast furnished me
In presence of my foes;
My head Thou dost with oil anoint,
And my cup overflows.

Goodness and mercy all my life
Shall surely follow me;
And in God’s house forevermore,
My dwelling place shall be.

A more modern hymn, written by Matt Redman, is:

The sun comes up, it’s a new day dawning
It’s time to sing Your song again
Whatever may pass and whatever lies before me
Let me be singing when the evening comes

Bless the Lord
Bless the Lord
Oh my soul, oh my soul
Worship His holy name
Sing like never before
Oh my soul
I’ll worship Your holy name

You’re rich in love
And You’re slow to anger
Your name is great
And Your heart is kind
For all Your goodness
I will keep on singing
10, 000 Reasons for my heart to find

Bless the Lord
Oh my soul, oh my soul
Worship His holy name
Sing like never before
Oh my soul
I’ll worship Your holy name

Sing my soul, sing my soul
Bless the Lord
Oh my soul, oh my soul
Worship His holy name
Sing like never before
Oh my soul
I’ll worship Your holy name

So, that should give you some idea of what’s available.


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