St. Paul's United Methodist Church
Friday, February 23, 2018

Music Ministry






Last week’s Music Notes shared part of the many resources in the current version of The United Methodist Hymnal [the red hymnal in the pews].

Those resources included three of John Wesley’s Directions for Singing, which are found in the opening pages of this hymnal.

It bears repeating that these directions from Wesley are as relevant today as they were when first published in 1761.

It also bears repeating that The United Methodist Hymnal is more than simply a collection of songs used in worship. It includes a number of additional, but sometimes overlooked, resources designed to greatly enhance the worship experience.

Below are two more of Wesley’s Directions for Singing for you to prayerfully reflect upon and consider.

They are:

Sing in time. Whatever time is sung be sure to keep with it. Do not run before nor stay behind it; but attend close to the leading voices, and move therewith as exactly as you can; and take care not to sing too slow. This drawling way naturally steals on all who are lazy; and it is high time to drive it out from us, and sing all our tunes just as quick as we did at first.

Above all sing spiritually. Have an eye to God in every word you sing. Aim at pleasing him more than yourself, or any other creature. In order to do this, attend strictly to the sense of what you sing, and see that your heart is not carried away with the sound, but offered to God continually; so shall your singing be such as the Lord will approve here, and reward you when He cometh in the clouds of heaven.

Wesley’s final direction affirms the role of church music as expressed a bit more succinctly by Johann Sebastian Bach, who is universally regarded as the greatest church musician of all time. On every piece of music Bach composed he wrote – “Soli Deo Gloria” – To God Alone the Glory. This is wonderful advice for not only for singing during worship, but for everything we do in worship AND everything we do outside of worship.

Next week’s Music Notes will share some excerpts from the preface of The United Methodist Hymnal. These excerpts provide important insights into the many roles of the hymnal in worship; as well as the reasoning behind sometimes hotly debated efforts to ensure hymnals have a balance of new hymns and well-known familiar hymns [each of which were also new hymns before they became well known and familiar]. 


Blessings, Shelley