An exploration of the theological significance of congregational song, asking how music has meaning for its singers, and considering the importance of contemporary music worship. Brian Wren argues that a hymn is a complex art form, deserving of recognition and...
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An exploration of the theological significance of congregational song, asking how music has meaning for its singers, and considering the importance of contemporary music worship. Brian Wren argues that a hymn is a complex art form, deserving of recognition and study for its contributions to worship, education and pastoral care. Because text, tune and the combination of both when sung have theological meaning and formative power, ministers and other worship leaders have as much need to learn about them as their musical counterparts.
Renowned theologian and hymn writer Brian Wren explores here the theological significance of congregational singing, analyzes the importance of contemporary worship music, and explains the power of tune and text in the life and nurture of a congregation. Wren studies the lyrics of choruses, hymns, chants, and ritual songs, and identifies their importance as both poetry and communal utterances of theology. This is a valuable resource for church musicians, pastors, and other worship leaders.
Wren discusses the thorny issues involving congregational singing today: the indispensable nature of public worship; contemporary worship music; the lyrics of different types of congregational songs, such as choruses, hymns, chants and ritual songs; and the importance of using hymn lyrics as poetry. He shows why hymn lyrics are altered throughout time and how they illustrate theology.
1. "Through All The Changing Scenes Of Life": Glimpses Of Congregational Song^2. "Rescue The Holy Pleasure": Why Congregational Song Is Indispensable^3. "A More Profound Alleluia": Encouraging The People's Song^4. "Some Demand A Driving Beat": Contemporary Worship Music^5. "And Speak Some Boundless Thing": Assessing The Lyrics Of Congregational Song^6. "Sing Them Over Again To Me": Refrains, Choruses, And Other People's Songs^7. "Captured By Gender": Chant And Ritual Song^8. "Such A Feast As Mends In Length": Hymns As Poems Of Faith^9. "To Me, To All, Thy Bowels Move": Why Do They Keep Changing The Good Old Hymns?^10. "Echoes Of The Gospel": How Hymns Do Theology^
Brian Wren is Professor Emeritus of Worship at Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur, Georgia. He is a well-known hymn writer and the author of "Praying Twice: The Music and Words of Congregation Song", published by WJK.