The worship of the New Testament . . . is nothing else than song, praise, and thanksgiving.
This is a unique song. God does not care for our sacrifices and works.
He is satisfied with the sacrifice of praise.
I have no one to sing and chant about but Christ,
in whom alone I have everything.
Him alone I proclaim, in Him alone I glory,
for He has become my salvation, that is, my victory.
— martin Luther, Lectures on Isaiah
We sing to affirm glad community solidarity against an ideology of privatism that refuses the common good.
—Walter Brueggemann, A Glad Obedience: Why and What We Sing (Kindle Locations 1617-1618).
Be vigilant to fight the commodification of the church’s song. Resist anything that blunts the fullness of the Christian gospel. Do not squelch the dimly burning wicks of voices at the margins whose songs may not otherwise be heard. Resist cultural imperialism. Embrace ways of creating, curating, receiving, and singing songs that demonstrate the shalom of God’s way in the world.
—John Witvliet, “Foreword,” in Walter A. Brueggemann, A Glad Obedience: Why and What We Sing (Kindle Locations 99-102)
Congregational singing, judged by the norms of our market culture, is an absurd enterprise: a group of intrepid people eagerly lining out poetry filled with archaic images and metaphors reflective of a prescientific worldview and singing ancient memories, hopes, and mysteries that contradict the “reason of the age.” Such singing, when done intentionally, is perfectly countercultural.
—Walter Brueggemann, A Glad Obedience: Why and What We Sing, Kindle Location 123-126
Singing is, by the way of the world, quite “unreasonable” and bears witness to an alternative reality.
—Walter Brueggemann, A Glad Obedience: Why and What We Sing, Kindle Location 174-175
Even as the gathered assembly was a visible symbol of unity, the sound of singing is an audible symbol of unity.
—Constance Cherry, The Music Architect, 221
Pastoral musicians must learn to love the sound of a singing congregation above any other musical sound.
—Charles Gardner, “Ten Commandments for Those Who Love the Sound of a Singing Congregation,” in The Singing Assembly, 103 (quoted in Constance Cherry, The Music Architect, 212)