G*d likes it loud

Just a reminder: the Lord prefers loud music and joyous dancing in the temple. Or, so his messengers say.

Psalm 150
1 Praise the LORD.
Praise God in his sanctuary;
praise him in his mighty heavens.
2 Praise him for his acts of power;
praise him for his surpassing greatness.
3 Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet,
praise him with the harp and lyre,
4 praise him with timbrel and dancing,
praise him with the strings and pipe,
5 praise him with the clash of cymbals,
praise him with resounding cymbals.
6 Let everything that has breath praise the LORD.
Praise the LORD.

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About liberalreligiongetsloud

Contemporary Music and Worship Director (retired), First Unitarian, Albuquerque NM
This entry was posted in contemporary worship. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to G*d likes it loud

  1. nightprayers says:

    I’m a big fan of the Psalms, Vance! This (final) Psalm certainly includes LOUDness in PRAISE of the Divine. Of course, harp and lyre are not quite so decibel-ly big or percussive as some of the other stuff listed. 🙂

    And it is also worth simultaneously casting the net wide enough to take in 1 Kings 18-19, where loudness is associated with a false faith, a vain faith, and God is found not in the whirlwind, the earthquake, the fire, or the thunder, but in a small still voice.

    Soundly motivated volume is good. So is the listening quiet in which the Divine speaks.

    BTW, in January in Chicago I met Christine. Some of us had a great lunch session with her one day. She talked about the multi-campus, multi-service approach to worship and congregational organization at First Unitarian.

    Also, while I was in Chicago for the month of January, I attended worship at four synagogues and eight churches. I blogged about the experience. One long blog entry for the whole month of worship.

    But in the context of loud, there were two churches from the month’s experience that are of note – specifically because their style of worship and their specific mission to young adults, the group that so frequently is underrepresented in our UU worship: Urban Village Church, a United Methodist church plant less than a year old that has a praise band and is mostly young adult in attendance; and LaSalle Street Church, a non-denominational Evangelical church with a social justice focus, a praise band, and dramatic performance in worship. Both of these churches feature strong preaching but in a context that makes what they do accessible to those who attend. Both of these congregations take a post-denominational approach to identity and mission, even though Urban Village is officially affiliated with and (temporarily) supported by a denomination.

    Urban Village meets in Sunday rental space – a downtown location for Sunday morning and a site in the Wicker Park neighborhood for Sunday evening. Urban Village’s downtown location is in the very modern theatre of a Jewish Studies institute. LaSalle Street has its own building, a gothic structure that they use well but don’t reverence.

    My reflections on my experience at each of these churches are included in my blog post, about halfway down under the label “Sunday, January 23, morning” and about 3/4 of the way down under the label “Sunday, January 30, morning”.

    Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands. …Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise… ” – Psalm 100:1, 4

  2. There is some personal background here, which may be of some small interest. My father’s family are Primitive Baptists (or Old School Baptists), one of whose practices is a capella singing from shape-note hymnals, in the southern folk hymnody tradition (with a dose of 1930s Stamps gospel thrown in). But it’s all vocal — no musical instruments allowed or wanted.

    I remember my grandfather explaining that the Bible commands us to praise God with song and lift our voices in praise, not lift up our pianos. But I never heard the other psalms mentioned, the ones with trumpets and drums and dancing. Is this picking and choosing biblical texts to suit preconceptions? I have not had this conversation with any of my relatives in the PB clergy, so I don’t know. But I think maybe it’s time to ask, just for my own education.

    • Paul Oakley says:

      I don’t know about the Primitive Baptists’ reasons, but I grew up in the independent Christian Churches and Churches of Christ, a fundamentalist branch of the Campbell-Stone “Restoration Movement.” We used instruments, but that was the only significant difference with the other fundamentalist branch of our movement, the non-instrument Church of Christ. Growing up, I received a two-fold explanation for the non-instrumental approach:

      1) It is not part of any New Testament description of worship or command for worship, and what is not commanded is forbidden.

      2) The use of instruments in worship in ancient Israel was part of Temple worship. Such worship style died with the destruction of the Temple and would be restored only in heaven.

      Interestingly, the second reason, though not identical, closely parallels the position of traditional Judaism’s reason for using voice only in synagogue worship.

  3. FWIW, here’s the reply I received from a relative who’s an elder in the Primitive Baptist Church:

    Dear Bro. Vance, I will send several different writings on the
    implementation of Man-made Instruments of Music in the New
    Testament Church, each will clearly amplify that such
    resistance to such is not just a new tradition. There is
    no Scripture in the O.T. or N.T. where GOD AUTHORIZED such,
    but the Holy Written Divinely Inspired Word of God, especially
    the King James Translation does list many things that were
    being employed in the O.T. Law Services that were NOT approved
    of God. Nearly everyone that brings up this subject will refer
    to David’s Writings in – Psalms 150:1–6. Finally in Verse 6
    David does state clearly that of “Singing” (only) – “Let every
    thing that hath BREATH praise the Lord.” That would be only
    humans. Now notice what Paul wrote in the N.T. in – Eph. 5:19
    which emphasizes SINGING only without any augmentations. Again,
    notice in Col. 3:16 – the very same scenario.

    Now further, notice in the O.T. that which God did RENOUNCE.
    Amos 5:23 – “Take away from me the noise of thy songs; for I
    will not hear the melody of thy viols.” That clearly and
    firmly eliminates the sound of (Noise of) musical instruments.
    Then again, clearly in – Amos 6:5 – God rejects the musical
    instruments of David – Verse 1 through 6 – gives the full
    context of this “WOE TO THEM” scenario. Now – Amos 6:5
    “That chant to the sound of the viol, and invent to them-
    selves instruments of musick, like David.” Now which text
    do you follow? Both are in Holy Writ. There is no text
    in the O.T. or N.T. authorizing the utility of Musical
    Instruments in the N.T Church Worship Services.

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