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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Singing

No one has ever left worship humming the sermon

When preachers and musicians argue about the most important parts of worship, musicians win hands down. In my experience, no one has ever left worship humming the sermon.

Worship is countercultural, and singing is the most countercultural part of it. So what we sing on Sundays has a way of getting into our souls. Worship isn’t something we watch as a spectator sport. It’s something we do together—all four or 40 or 400 of us. And singing is what unites us.

Some would say singing is just something we do every so often during the ritual of worship. Or maybe it’s background music while something else is happening. But it’s more accurate to say singing is what gets the liturgy done by the assembly, not something extra, not something to make things longer or more solemn or happier. Singing is us doing the liturgy. It is the church doing what it needs to do. There are at least two reasons why singing is challenging for many of us, why it’s so countercultural, why we hesitate to raise the roof with song.


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