O Say Can You Sing

This past weekend before we sang in church, I talked about singing in church.

It’s an odd thing, this notion of people singing together. If we believed in life Glee-style, every act would birth a musical moment. There would be singing and dancing and harmony and a hidden orchestra around every corner.

But unless you’re creative and have a jukebox in your head (like my friend Lindsay Harris), there’s probably not a lot of opportunities to sing out loud with other people. At ball games, we mumble along with the National Anthem. In a restaurant or around a cake with candles, we sing “Happy Birthday”.

And then we come to church. The traditional approach to a religious gathering is that everybody sings: hymns, choruses, responses.

In church, we sing together.

But that’s not necessarily true for everyone. I’m talking to people and asking questions and finding out that a whole bunch of people do not, in fact, sing in church. At all.

It’s important. It’s worth considering.

Here’s a great quote from Chris Vacher regarding this very topic:

“Private, non-corporate elements of worship reinforce individualism and make the neighbor invisible to us. 
But corporate singing, in which you can actually hear the voices of other human beings…there’s power in that.” 
– Greg Thompson, from here

Makes me think about what it is people expect when they walk into church. When the music starts, are you anxious to sing? Is it as meaningful to simply watch? Do you feel the power of which Thompson speaks?

Do you sing in church?

5 thoughts on “O Say Can You Sing

  1. Can I sing? No, not at all.
    Do I sing at church? Yes, almost all the time. I don't sing words I don't mean. I don't belt out notes way out of my range. Every now and then, I am compelled to be silent and just to listen…to God, or the voices around me.


  2. I can't sing well, but I do sing, and I love to do it.

    I also have fond memories of a couple of times singing hymns around the piano at a great aunt's house and singing hymns in the car with family from Alabama.

    I still like many of the old hymns and miss getting to sing them. Sometimes when I am home alone, I start singing and try to sing as many as I can remember.


  3. I LOVE to sing with the congregation in church and I agree wholeheartedly that there's power in that. I believe it's from our lips to God's ears!

    Beverly – Ohio


  4. We sing all of church. Thank goodness it doesn't matter that I can't sing. I do any-freaking-how. 😉

    When all the voices thunder, don't just listen *around*, listen *back* and *in* and *up*.

    (holy… week… holy… week…)
    I will pester in all ways.


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