". . . little shall I grace my cause

In speaking for myself. Yet, by your gracious patience,

I will a round unvarnish'd tale deliver . . ."

(William Shakespeare's Othello, I.iii.88-90)

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Tree of Life

Last week I posted a video of my large, suburban Chicago congregation singing Graham Kendrick's "Shine, Jesus, Shine" accompanied by piano and brass choir. Although my church has a top-notch organ which is prominently featured in our worship services, we are also blessed with many musicians who desire to use their talents in the service of God's Word, and the Cantor tries to make full use of them.

There are many churches out there, however, who do not have either organ or organist at their disposal. Does that mean they have no recourse but to sing a cappella, or perhaps, to resort to a recorded accompaniment?

No. While I personally love a cappella singing and think it to be a worthy sacrifice of praise, I also love instrumental music and understand the desire to use it to lead and adorn corporate singing. So I am edified by this video from a Lutheran (LCMS) mission congregation outside of Detroit. The congregation is small and worship attendance numbers less than 50. They currently meet at a school, so having no building of their own, they also have no organ. That does not prevent them from singing hymns and liturgy with only the voices and instruments in their midst. You will hear on the video a lovely rendition of one of my favorite contemporary hymns, Rev. Stephen Starke's "The Tree of Life." The small "orchestra" consists of a guitar, flute, oboe and violin.

I hope you will listen, enjoy, and be blessed. You will note that the balance in the video is not ideal--the microphone was placed so that it is instrumentally heavy. You can rectify that, however, by picking up your Lutheran Service Book and singing along!

More details on the video and those behind it can be found here.

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