Rebecca By. Rebecca McGaffic, Contemporary Worship Director

Music can create moods, set tones, inspire, lift, and even teach! Music is fun to sing AND an integral part of our worship experience in the church. Each Sunday we come into church and maybe hear and get to sing one of our favorite songs. A song may touch one of us or spark a feeling or emotion. It may even teach or touch upon a life lesson or experience!

In the Episcopal Church, we draw our service together through the Episcopal Liturgy. Like the Sermons, that are being taught based on the Liturgy, believe it or not, there is methodical process behind the choosing of the songs played for our Worship Service!

Here is peek into the thought Process:

Do the words and mood of the piece reinforce the overall theme and mood of the service, the Scripture text being preached on that day, and/or the season of the year? Are the majority of the songs congregational, for all the people to sing? Does a given song fit best at the beginning of the service, or does the text really indicate a response that should come later in the service?

Sometimes the right liturgical context can make the perfect space for a song based on what readings or text precedes and follows the song. When I look at the order of our service, there are key points in the service for our worship in song.

  • At the opening: We want to get energized in our worship but be mindful that some of us…might still be sleeping. A song selected here is to get our mind and body ready for Worship. Wake Up!
  • After Collect for Purity: We want to ready and open our hearts to the Lord. Songs chosen here are geared towards calling on our Great Lord! Declaring His awesomeness and Power and asking Him to be with us.
  • After Scripture Lessons: We have a Gradual Song after Scripture Lessons and right before the Gospel. This song is chosen based on scripture to help focus our minds on the Lessons. Maybe you had a tough time understanding the readings or the Lesson? Keep listening! Maybe the Gradual Song might be able to help get you to the right place or just set your heart and spirit in the right place.
  • Offering: This is time that can be fun for musicians! We may introduce a new song or we may also keep the offering song in theme with the Lessons.
  • Communion: Songs placed here are not just about the Body and Blood of Christ. Key words to think about when placing music here are: Redemption, Sacrifice, Love, Healing, and Forgiveness. We can also align communion songs to our lectionary, readings, and lessons.
  • Closing: This is fun! This is exciting! This is the time for our Declaration for our Lord! We had an awesome Service. Learned something. Set a fire in our Spirits. Maybe…woke up! Now, we get to sing and declare how great it is to be a child of God! How wonderful is our King! He makes us dance. He makes us raise our hands and shout for Joy! Music placed here is to express all of this and have a little fun and get us energized to go out and make disciples!