Friday, September 24, 2010

Praying Twice

Friday Five: We Who Sing Pray Twice

Mary Beth at RGBP shares: Music is a part of the human experience, and part of religious traditions the world over. It is evocative and stirring, and many forms of worship are incomplete without it.

Our title comes from a quote popularly attributed to St. Augustine: "He who sings prays twice." A little Googling, however, indicates that Augustine didn't say exactly that. In fact, what he said just doesn't fit well onto a t-shirt. So we'll stick with what we have.

"Singing reduces stress and increases healthy breathing and emotional expression. Singing taps into a deep, age-old power available to all of us. When we find our voice, we find ourselves. Today, sing like you mean it." And let's talk about the role music plays in your life and worship.

1) Do you like to sing/listen to others sing? In worship, or on your own (or not at all?) Singing is life. Okay, that may be a bit strong - but when I'm happy, when I'm miserable, when I'm pissed off singing gets me through. I'm no great voice, but I have to sing. Listening to music doesn't do it for me - even music without words, I have to sing along to!
2) Did you grow up with music in worship, or come to it later in life? Tell us about it, and how that has changed in your experience. Hymns were and continue to be holy for me. Being a word person, theologically astute lyrics mean a lot, so that has changed since childhood. Poetic and "smart" lyrics also factor big in my appreciation.
3) Some people find worship incomplete without music; others would just as soon not have it. Where do you fall? MUST SING - music is great and a perfect means of setting a theme through sound, so I experience it as necessary to worship - but if I can't sing, too, it often feels superfluous (NOT to many of my church members, though!).
4) Do you prefer traditional music in worship, or contemporary? That can mean many different things! I prefer hymns, and I enjoy some TaizĂ© and other chanted music (which I consider contemporary); I love when the choir bursts out with classical texts, but again, I want to at least hum (badly) along. 
5) What's your go-to music ... when you need solace or want to express joy? A video/recording will garner bonus points! Indigo Girls are always my go-to music (as I've expressed here numerous times); but lately, Brandi Carlisle and Pink feed my own "bursting" side. 
I keep trying to reconcile "why one form of music in one setting, and another form in a different setting?" (the question people ask as they argue for rock, etc in worship)... but I think I NEED both! And I don't use hymns in my everyday, because, for me, they are communal, corporate, only among my faith family - and they travel with me from one faith community to another, so that I can often find "home" wherever I may go. THANKS FOR A GREAT F5!!