One of my fondest memories of growing up was our yearly church choir. I attended a small church, and the leaders decided against a regular church choir, opting for a small worship team instead. Twice during the year, however, all the musically inclined in the congregation would stay after morning service and practice for our biannual Christmas and Easter choir. We sang classics- The Messiah, Christmas carols- and more modern pieces, and once a year, on the holidays themselves (or nearest Sunday) after singing a few hymns with the rest of the congregation, the choir would filter up to the front of the church and Mr. Jenning, our choir director would start us off.
I remember those moments as being magical. My church had singing every Sunday- the reason we didn’t have a more regular choir was because the leadership felt that a choir would give people the expectation that they didn’t have to sing- but singing in choir was always special. I think it was a deeper acknowledgement by our pastor of the importance and magic of music, and the deep, deep christian tradition found within the notes.
Music has always been an important part of religion. From the chants of catholic monks, to the hard rock worship services of megachurches, music has been inseparable from christianity. Some of the greatest pieces of music have been inspired by our faith. The first two lines of Mozart’s requiem translate as “Grant them eternal rest, Lord, and let perpetual light shine on them. You are praised, God, in Zion, and homage will be paid to You in Jerusalem.” The kyrie
reads “Lord, have mercy on us. Christ, have mercy on us. Lord, have mercy on us.” It’s impossible to disassociate church and music and that is as it should be.
I believe that music- and choir especially- is the closest we can get to heaven in this life. There’s nothing as inspiring and as close to the wonder of god as being in sync with a hundred other people creating something that would be impossible to create alone. Music, and choir, is in my opinion the best proof of the existence of a kind and loving god. Within music, we find his love, and his grace, and his serenity and forgiveness and joy. Music and christianity are
inextricably linked, and singing in church is the greatest gift God has given his children.