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Content about Psalms (Music)

June 1, 2010

A colleague and friend once described a game she played with her children. They called it “I’ve got a song for that.” It was an opportunity to nurture in her kids a repertoire of songs for times of joy or sadness.

June 1, 2010

Imagine a piece of art that you would like to hang or install in your home. If it’s a painting, you’d want to frame it and then find the right spot in the right room for it, so that your viewing of the painting would be enriched by its placement. If it’s a sculpture, you’d want to find the spot that best honors the piece and allows you to enjoy it fully.

June 1, 2010

Am I really supposed to pray like this? That is the question I kept asking myself when I first started praying through the psalms. I tried to make the prayers “my own” but found that I could not. I tried to pray through the psalms in their totality—their joy, anger, praise, lament, exultation, despair, longing, and hope—but it was just too much for me. I wanted these prayers to echo through the depths of my heart. I tried praying through the psalms in a week, in a month, in three months.

June 1, 2010

As to public prayers, there are two kinds: the one consists of words alone; the other includes music. And this is no recent invention. For since the very beginning of the church it has been this way, as we may learn from history books. Nor does St. Paul himself speak only of prayer by word of mouth, but also of singing. And in truth, we know from experience that song has a great power and strength to move and inflame the hearts of men to invoke and praise God with a heart more vehement and ardent.

June 1, 2010

The following article, along with parts 2 and 3 to be published in later issues, though not typical for Reformed Worship, is well worth spending some time on. Pastors, musicians, and worship planners alike can benefit from considering the pairing of text and tune and the challenges that arise from a plethora of choices. In addition, several denominations are in the process of developing new hymnbooks for congregational song.

September 1, 2009

Our church can be described as a singing church. As part of our worship pattern, once a year we usually hold a hymn-sing, gathering to worship God specifically through song. This year our pastor preached a series of sermons based on various psalms, so instead of a hymn-sing we decided to hold a psalm-sing.

June 1, 2009

This column is the oldest continuing column in Reformed Worship. From the first issue (RW 1, Advent 1986, then named “Hymn of the Month”), the column guidelines set a goal that “one (or more) should be a psalm or a setting of Scripture.” That guideline has been followed more or less over the years, but in this issue, we’re happy to offer all psalm-based songs as a way of celebrating the 500th anniversary of the birth of John Calvin (1509-1564).

March 1, 2009

In our worship we enter into a dialogue between God and God’s people—a dialogue that neither begins with our entrance nor ends with our exit. More accurately we are joining in a conversation that started long before we ever showed up. Indeed, worship is a cosmic gathering in which we are privileged to participate.

December 1, 2008

Q  Some people in our church want to sing more psalms. I often respond by saying that we sing songs with verses from the psalms all of the time. Why doesn’t this satisfy them?

June 1, 2007

At a summer planning meeting on her back porch, Laura Smit, Dean of the Chapel at Calvin College, Grand Rapids, Michigan, mentioned a Psalm Festival she had done with her church in Boston—all 150 Psalms in one night. That sounded like a great project for Calvin College.

June 1, 2007

The book of Psalms is the prayer book of the church, the template for how we express ourselves to God in worship. Yet the modern evangelical church has used psalms in worship haphazardly. Unlike the Roman Catholic tradition, which mandates the use of certain psalms on certain days; or the historic Reformed church, which allowed no other singing but psalms; the modern church feels no obligation to include psalms in worship.

December 4, 2004

It happened again this past Sunday. A great worship service, including baptism. Wonderful singing—of hymns. No psalms, not one. This is a church that stands in the Reformed tradition known for its singing of the psalms. Whenever I go to ecumenical conferences, I’m identified as one who comes from a psalm-singing heritage. I smile wanly, agreeing. But that heritage is too often missing on Sunday mornings.

March 1, 1989

In RW 10 Koyzis gave a brief historical overview of psalm-singing and offered suggestions for using the psalms in worship. In this second article, he compares ways of singing the psalms.

Psalm-singing Christians basically fall into two categories: those who chant the psalms directly from the Bible and those who sing metrical paraphrases of the psalms, in which the biblical text is reworked in poetic meter and (often) rhyme.

December 1, 1988

Although Psalm-singing has long been one of the identifying characteristics of the Reformed tradition, the singing of psalms in worship is by no means a Reformed innovation. We share the riches of the biblical psalter with the whole Christian church, as well as with the Jewish synagogue.

June 1, 1988
July
Psalm 34: Lord, I Bring My Songs to You

Psalm 34 is one of those psalms that the Bible explains in a fascinating heading: "When he [David] pretended to be insane before Abimelech, who drove him away, and he left." The psalm, constructed as an acrostic in Hebrew, is a prayer of thanksgiving for deliverance, followed by an invitation to others to join in the praise (st. 1-2). From praise, the psalm moves to instruction in godly living (st. 3—6).

December 1, 1987
January
Songs of Thankfulness and Praise

Christopher Wordsworth, the author of this text, may not be as well known today as his famous uncle, William. But during his lifetime (1807-85) Christopher distinguished himself as a scholar, professor, pastor, and eventually a bishop in the church of England.

Bishop Wordsworth included this hymn in his Holy Year: or Hymns for Sundays, Holidays, and Other Occasions Throughout the Year, with the following heading:

September 1, 1987
October
Savior, Like a Shepherd Lead Us

Although it was written for Dorothy Thrupp's 1836 collection Hymns for the Young and is included in the children's section of many hymnals, "Savior, Like a Shepherd Lead Us" appeals to believers of all ages.

June 1, 1987

For years missianaries from North America exported Western hymns. New Christians learned songs that were often foreign to their cultures. Usually these non- Western Christians adapted the hymns~moving pitches, changing rhythms and tempo, and wing instruments very different from the organ to accompany their singing.

June 1, 1987

Versifying a psalm might sound simple. After all, psalms are poetry—how much effort can it take to make them singable? But as anyone who has tried can tell you, versifying a particular psalm in an appealing, singable, and authentic way is actually a very complex assignment.

March 1, 1987
Our Worship Begins(1)

Words of Welcome

*Processional: Psalm 24(2)

*Greetings:
Pastor: People of God, receive the greeting from our God, the King of glory: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, through the working of the Holy Spirit.
People: Amen!
The people greet each other.


*Hymn: Rejoice, the Lord Is King

We Hear the Word of the Lord

Prayer for Illumination

Scripture Reading: Acts 1:1—11

Word for the Children

March 1, 1987
Easter: This Joyful Eastertide

While most of us know many Christmas carols, we may be less familiar with carols for other times of the year. One of the finest Easter carols is "This Joyful Eastertide." The tune, which originated in a seventeenth-century Dutch love song, came into church use in Joachim Oudaen's David's Psalmen (1685) as the melody for "Hoe Grootde Vreuchten Zijn" ("How Great the Fruits Are")—hence, the tune title VRUCHTEN.

December 1, 1986

A Hymn-of-the-Month program is an effective means of introducing a congregation to new hymns and of using familiar hymns in inventive and fresh ways. Such a program can be invaluable in preparing a congregation for a new hymnal.

September 1, 1986

The Hymn of the Month features old as well as new hymns for worship. Some hymns are presented simply, others in festive arrangements for choirs, congregations, and instruments.

If a hymn is new to your congregation, you may want to sing it once every Sunday during the month so that the people become familiar with it. On the other hand, hymns that are already familiar to the congregation may be sung only once during the month or saved for another occasion.