Theology and Worship

Good church musicians constantly ask whether the “psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs” of the church’s worship are sung “so that the Word of God may dwell in us richly” (the forgotten purpose clause of Col. 3:16). Good liturgical musicians worry about the link between theology and worship:  whether worship in their church depicts God as only indifferent and far removed; whether it gives the impression that prayer is simply an act of cognition, or conversely, an act of pure emotion; whether worship in their congregation makes it clear that the Bible is central to the life and faith of the church. The good ones, as I describe more fully elsewhere, know that worship expresses the deepest theological convictions of the community and that it reveals as much about the belief of the community as do catechisms and confessions.

–John D. Witvliet,  “Training Church Musicians as Pastoral Liturgists,” Musicians for the Churches: Reflections on Vocation and Formation (2001, Institute of Sacred Music at Yale University, New Haven CT), p.18.

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