Music is an important component of worship in churches. It is normally used by priests and the choir to preach the word of God through praises and during worship. The role of music in church is derived from the Bible. It has been used for religious reasons since the times of King David. For example, the book of Psalms is still important to churches today (Smith 27). Music serves different purposes in Christianity. Moreover, is an important tool of worship in the Christian faith. The use of music in churches is common during service as both the priest and the Congregation participate actively in the singing related activities. They use the harmony of sounds to feel closer to and worship God during sacred ceremonies.
One Sunday, my friends asked me to join him for a church service in one of the local churches. This was an interesting day for the Anglican church, which was the church my friend belonged to. This date was known as music Sunday. It is designated by the church to celebrate music as a form of worship by the believers. This was a unique experience for me since, having been brought up in a Buddhist family, it was my first time in an actual church. The events on that day were dedicated to celebrating music by praising and worshiping God. People gathered with the intent to feel their connection to God through tunes and singing. On this day, people who attended the church service demonstrated their support for music. Additionally, there was a popular gospel artiste who had been invited to the church to entertain the worshipers during the church service for this occasion. These circumstances gave me a chance to learn more about the role of music in religion as music Sunday was a day to promote music as a form of worship.
Music played an important part in the church service. From the start, before any of the rites began, there were musical instruments playing with the members of the praise and worship teams entertaining the congregation that was waiting for the church service to commence. The sermon then later began with the arrival of the clergy who were accompanied by the church choir. They were singing hymnals as they entered the church. As service started, there were praise and worship sessions which mainly involved singing, dancing, and praising God. There was also a session during which music was played as people were deeply engaged in worship. Music also featured prominently during the church service stage when the leader of the service led people into a prayer. This was done according to the doctrine of the Anglican church. It was because of the rules of the faith that there was a prayer book used by the worshipers in their church routine.
Music was also played by the choir during the period when people gave offerings as well as during the Holy Communion session. There were two groups that led the musical sessions of the church service. There was a group called the praise and worship team and there was another group known as the choir. The praise and worship team played their music using various instrumentals such as guitars and the piano while the choir mainly used drums and sung from the Hymnbook (Boyce 146). The choir was mainly involved in liturgical worship led by the clergy and sang specific songs that were chosen by the leaders of the service. These sessions brought members of the congregation togather as they joined the priest in specific praises and responses.
The two teams both played their roles in the service by alternating in how they were involved. The choir was mainly involved in singing during the worship session that was derived from the liturgical worship book. They were led by the priest. The choir had a style of singing which involved the use of polyphonic composition. This type of melodies uses different rhythms and melodies to create harmonic sounds that unique and that follow the Anglican doctrine of worship.
The music was a fundamental part of the religious event since the better part of it was about worship. It was highly connected to the traditions of the Anglican Church. Most of the worship was done through a designated method of devotional rite in which the choir is deeply involved. The praise and worship team led the session in which most of the music was played using various instruments and in which the worshipers were entertained through sacred music. Most of the major activities done during the service were accompanied by music. Some of these key activities were accompanied either by music from the choir or from the parse and worship team and included offerings, Holy Communion, prayers, etc.
The use of music enhanced the worship experience in a significant way as most of the worshipers could be seen to enjoy the music as well as the gospel. For example, when the choir and the praise and worship teams were singing, many of the worshipers sung while lifting up their hands and facing the sky. On my personal assessment, I believed this was a way the worshipers could feel connected to God. Moreover, the fact that they were facing up meant that the worshipers believed that God saw them and that God was indeed present in their midst. One specific song that made me feel that the music enhanced the worship experience was one that was sung by everyone. During the performance of he hymn, all people were calling upon the Holy Spirit to come and reign. When this song was being sung, everybody was looking up in the sky and lifting their arms as though they were seeing and talking to someone up in the sky. All the people involved seemed deeply involved in the spiritual dimension of singing. After this song, almost everyone in the church was praying. Some were loud while others recited their prayers silently. There was this feeling as though God was indeed present in the church and everyone wanted to talk to him in the best way they could.
Despite not being a Christian, I learned a lot from the musical experience during the church service. The use of music as a form of worship was one of the important lessons for me, because I saw people connect to God by singing, dancing, and praising. The use of music in almost all aspects of the service indicated the importance of music as the people present connected with God. The fact that singing was also done by the members of the congregation and was participatory was a good lesson to learn. This meant that the process of worship was not dominated by a priest, but was a participatory process in which the congregation also participated through joining in during the singing. I also learned that music was part and parcel of worship and religious rites. By using music, the worshipers were able to deeply indulge in the prayers as well as follow the directions given by the service leaders and the priest.
During the service, many of the people showed that they were enjoying the use of music during the process of worship. Members of the congregation were actively involved in the singing and dancing. This way they demonstrated that they were all deeply touched by the music that was played during the service. The use of songs during prayers, the readings of the psalms, and readings of the prayer book done by the priest showed that music is an important component of prayers and worship in the Anglican church (Kurian and Lamport 50). People in the congregation enjoyed the service partially thanks to the influence of music. I understood that based on the way people reacted to different songs that were sung by the choir and the praise and worship teams. It was evident that the music served different purposes during the church service. There were songs that were meant to entertain the congregation as they praised God, but there were other typpes of songs too. They were used purely for worship and were meant to put the audience in a mental state fit for worshiping God. The way people transitioned from singing praise songs to singing worship songs was interesting as the mood in the church changed. Within a short time, one would imagine that they were in a totally different environment. These transitions and changes in the mood in the church could all be attributed to the use of music during church service.
The space within the Church provided ample environment for the priests, the choir, the praise and worship teams, and the congregation to get the feeling the this was indeed a place of worship. The church had a large space that provided enough space for the people to sing, dance, and rejoice during the praise and worship sessions, as well as be able to pray with deep conviction during the worship sessions. As the choir members sung using polyphonic sounds, the church provided a moderate echo that sounded rhythmic. Furthermore, it complimented the voices of the choir members and made the musical experience extraordinary.
My experience in the church proved fruitful because it clearly emphasized the significance of music in the process of worship and prayers during Anglican church services. The use of music during prayers proved to be important as many of the worshipers enjoyed the songs that were sung during the religious ceremony. The prayer session mainly based on the church doctrine became interesting with most of the worshipers getting deeply involved in the experience.