Monday, September 17, 2007

Church Music Lecture 1

I'd like to transfer some audio files from my old blog to this new one.

This is the first of a number of lectures given in April & May of 2002, by myself and Mr. Bill Hoover, the music director at our church, Providence Reformed Presbyterian church. You can find an outline of the lecture here.


Lori Waggoner said...

You sound so young!!

Can you do this with all your old sermons? (and new ones...) I STILL haven't gotten my hands on the sermon, "A Theology of Gold and Silver." (Oct 27th, 1996)

Jeff Meyers said...

Okay. That's scary. Did I sound OLD yesterday?

Hmm. Let me check and see if I can find that one. But I might sound like a baby that long ago!

Lori Waggoner said...

Actually, you sounded NORMAL yesterday...maybe the recording has too much treble or something and I wrongly attributed the high, less-than-manly pitch to youth!

Thanks for checking on the other...and you WERE a baby were the age I am now. :)

Mark K said...

I recently listened to the two part mini-lecture here and here.

I have several questions for you regarding the ideas you put forth. I play guitar in my church (Anglican) and am really looking everywhere for resources and information on the idea of what is appropriate music that glorifies God. If you do not have time to answer these questions perhaps you could point me to a book or other resources that maybe fruitful.

Regarding the contrast between singing TO God and ABOUT God, instead of ABOUT ourselves and how we feel about what God has done for us. What about Psalm 116? There are more, but that is the first one that comes to mind.

Since the liturgy of "Covenant-Renewal" worship as as you like to call it is largely Eucharistic, (meaning the giving of thanks through a sacramental meal), I wonder how we are to fully give thanks to God without speaking of what and why we are thankful in our thoughts and emotions?

At one point in the lecture you state that music is physical and not spiritual, which needs clarification. I do not think you meant to imply that spiritual things are separate from physical things. Prayer is spiritual for instance, but it is no less physical because of that. (insert arguments for holy posture here) Spiritual, as I understand it, means all things pertaining to the life of the Spirit as we live by faith. And that certainly includes the physical world and our physical bodies. Spiritual should never be read as immaterial or merely abstract.

You asked where in the Bible is spirituality associated with silence? This one really bothered me because as a musician, silence is very important. Rest and pause are important compositional elements. I would need to explore this further, but the initial things that came to mind were:

1. The Hebrew word Selah.
2. The silence in heaven for half an hour.
3. Be still and know that I am God.
4. The silence of Christ before his adversaries.
5. The silence of Adam before the serpent and Eve (a negative spiritual connotation)
6. Job placing his hand over his mouth in reverence.
7. The Lord is in his holy temple, let all the earth be silent before Him.

These are just a few. Like I said, it needs to be explored.

You also asked where acapella song is found in scripture, which is interesting. And unless Moses, Simeon, and Mary picked up their guitars before they sang we have to assume it is there. Although, it might be my assumption that they even sang at all.

I also find problems with the equation you propose that modern simple musical style = adolescent maturity.

Why? How? And should we not have songs for children and adolescents in the Church?
Also, what intervals and chord progressions are mature? I agree with the principle that everything we do should be headed in a direction of spiritual maturity, but simplicity of form does not equal childishness in my mind.

As far as respecting the tradition and history of the Church, I find that easy to do when it comes to early medieval music and some Eastern Orthodox music, but I really loathe all protestant hymns and praise songs. Most of them seem trite to me and I get nothing out of them.

Which brings me to my final point and question. If we are worshiping God through music, and we enjoy the music, because it appeals to our taste, then how do we know we are worshiping God at all and not just worshiping our own taste?

Should we prefer music that does not appeal to us so that we are more sure that our hearts are pure?

Thank You
Mark Lazarus