The Importance of Hymns in Catholic, Protestant, and Jewish Services
Music irrefutably plays a crucial role in both Christian and Jewish religious services, as hymns and psalms are sporadically scattered in both New and Old Testaments. While discussing the importance of hymns in these services, along with enhancing the prayer experience, the feasibility of religious music should also be discerned.
At a time when the literacy level among people was low, singing was a convenient approach for religious teachings. However, though illiteracy is no longer a challenge for today’s society, hymns remain a vital component of religious services, and the purpose behind them has remained somewhat the same.
Elucidating religious teaching, enhancing religious rituals, establishing a sense of unity, and attracting potential members are a few reasons that underscore the importance of hymns. In fact, music helped to shape both Christian and Jewish identities in early faith-following assemblies, and collective singing became a vital component in defining group boundaries. Early Christian writings, for example, also “demonstrate that hymn composition were used as pedagogical tools, rhetorical devices, and mechanisms of recruitment to attract new members” (Weimer, 1).
The protestant influence on hymn writing is notable as well, as it gave religious singing far more freedom, thus elucidating the ritual and making it more accessible for common churchgoers. For example, the Protestant reformer Martin Luther effectively “utilized available musical resources to make music increasingly accessible, for the purpose of teaching the Word of God” (Knight, 33).
To conclude, both in Catholic, Protestant, and Jewish services, hymns are largely used for teaching the word of God in a penetrable manner. While scriptures might remain inscrutable for many, the hymns are a feasible approach for effective religious teachings. Moreover, apart from the pedagogical tool, collective singing remains a great way to establish a united spirit among the followers of faiths.
Knight, Jonathan. “Conservative Radical: Martin Luther’s Influence on Congregational Singing.” Musical Offerings 1.2 (2010): 33–53. Web.
Stricklin, David, Richard J. Mouw, and Mark A. Noll. “Wonderful Words of Life: Hymns in American Protestant History and Theology.” The Journal of Southern History 71.2 (2005): 508. Web.
Weimer, Jade Brooklyn. “Musical Assemblies: How Early Christian Music Functioned as a Rhetorical Topos, a Mechanism of Recruitment, and a Fundamental Marker of an Emerging Christian Identity.” University of Toronto (Canada), 2016. ProQuest Dissertations and Theses. Web.
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