July 30, 2015
Charm and Challenge
by Roger Petrich, Director of Music Ministry
In an essay "The Songs We Sing" Tony Barr writes:
"In life we encounter two basic types of language: that of charm and that of formation. The former provides comfort, security and stability, while the latter excites, stimulates and draws us out. Liturgy, as life, requires these two basic patterns of language. In worship there must be both charm and insemination. We are told not to fear because God is with us, yet we are also told to take up our cross daily and follow."
In planning our liturgies here at St Thomas More, it would be the easiest path to just sing over and over the songs we already know, love, and sing well - the "songs of charm". But as Tony Barr also points out,
"Sadly, this language of charm does not bring human beings to fullness of growth. It can even stunt, retard, and impede growth."
As we move into the new season, I hope that - along with the songs we love and sing well - we will also continue to explore some new songs, with new texts, and new composers along with some that might be "old" but "new to us." With the change of hymnals, we lost some songs, but we also gained some songs.
In this anniversary year, we look back with thanksgiving, but we also look forward as we "pray, serve, and spread the Gospel with joy!" So when you come up against a new song, please give it a chance, give it a try. If you find it really awful, tell me. I'd be glad to listen. I think it is great that our worshipers are deeply invested in our worship, and desire to grow in wisdom and discipleship.