I ran across this little excerpt from a sermon that was preached by Rev. John Andrew, Rector Emeritus at St. Thomas Church in New York at the beginning of August. I think it speaks precisely to the heart of why we do what we do, and why our singing, rehearsing and leading worship together in community is an important, holy, and powerful responsibility not to be taken lightly. I’m so thankful to be a part of this with you all who make music together at St. George's.
The Rev. John Andrew writes:
WHAT is the purpose of a choir? It’s not to perform difficult music before a silent and intimidated (or irritated) congregation. It’s not there to impress the faithful. It’s there to encourage the faithful to find their voices to praise God in his holiness. It is there to give the people their voice. It is what we call a ministry: it’s what St. Paul in his letter to the Ephesians means when he says: “I entreat you then … as God has called you, live up to your calling … each of us has been given his gift, the due portion of Christ’s bounty.” You heard it read today (Ephesians 4:1-11). The ministry of music is to get the people’s imagination going, to offer God something they perhaps hadn’t realized they had in them. Music can take them out of themselves. It makes some people cry, when they feel overwhelmed by the sheer force of its beauty. I know it’s true. I confess to being vulnerable to this when a great hymn or its descant’s majesty sweeps me off my feet. Just ask the boy choristers. I don’t apologise for it. That’s not cheap emotion. It’s God’s people finding their voice, their response with their uplifted hearts.
Soli Deo Gloria!