12.1.14 Music in the divine service

The purpose of music in the divine service is to praise and honour God (Psalm 150). In the divine service, the role of music is always to serve, and it can serve multiple functions: it can deeply move the soul, prepare the congregation for the proclamation of the word, and underscore the word of God. Singing–be it by the congregation or the choir–and instrumental music expresses and imparts courage, strength, and confidence. In times of sadness and hardship, music can provide comfort. Not least of all, music fosters a sense of fellowship among listeners and musicians alike.

In order to reach out to all participants in the divine service, the Church's musical literature encompasses a multitude of categories, styles, and levels of difficulty. The Church, in its worldwide activity, endeavours to preserve and maintain the musical traditions of the various cultures both in the divine service and other Church events.

Music and silent worship before the divine service help those in attendance collect their thoughts and prepare the way for the proclamation of the word. At the beginning of the divine service, the congregation sings a hymn. Thereby all participants are actively included in the divine service experience. Before the celebration of Holy Communion, the congregation can attest to their feelings of repentance in an appropriate hymn. The singing of the hymn during the celebration of Holy Communion affords an opportunity to express feelings of love and gratitude towards Jesus Christ in response to receiving the sacrament.

Following the closing benediction, the divine service is concluded with the "threefold Amen" sung by the congregation. As a rule, a hymn is then sung either by the congregation or the choir or a musical piece is performed.

In this manner, the experience of the divine service can be deepened: "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord" (Colossians 3: 16).

SUMMARY

Music in the divine service has the function of praising and glorifying God. It also has a serving function. (12.1.14)

See also