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Subscribe to our Newsletter Stay Connected. We think your country is: Russian Federation Change Country. The possibilities are rich, depending on the resources of the congregation. One week last year, at Hessel Park CRC Champaign, IL , our little old Allan organ gave out temporarily and all the music, including for leading congregational singing, was provided by two flutes, oboe, clarinet, and string bass--a combination we happen to have just now in our congregation of about seventy people. The only comment from the congregation was: Let the organ break down again! Other small churches leave the organ behind completely for other reasons, preferring piano or guitar.

However, I doubt that the organ will soon lose its position of dominance in our churches. A more substantive issue is the matter of what instrumental literature is to be played. The distinction here is not between liturgical and non-liturgical music, but between different categories of what has been composed as liturgical music, though from different traditions than our own. The option is this: In this regard the report of the Psalter Hymnal Supplement Committee to Synod of makes a provocative statement. Eight principles are listed as guides in developing the Supplement.

One deals with instrumental liturgical music: In other words, only music based on a tune with a text that the congregation knows is the ideal for our worship services. If that option were followed exclusively, what a radical change would occur! No more compositions simply entitled "Prelude," "Offertory," or "Postlude. And the congregation must know or have access to the text. Bulletin information is essential. Could so restrictive an option be an imaginative one?


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  4. Imaginative Options for Prelude, Offertory, Postlude.
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  7. I would like to suggest that it is so radical, based on our practice, that it is a very imaginative option. I have tried limiting myself to that option for a couple of years now. The only music chosen is text-related, primarily chorale preludes on tunes from the Psalter Hymnal which are then indicated in the bulletin.

    For other compositions the choir sings the chorale, or the bulletin prints the text upon which the composition is based. The decision to opt only for text-related music was based on two concerns; first, that the music be directly related to the content of a given service; and second, that everyone would be assisted in understanding what that relationship was. What better way than to rely on the body of songs which belong to the entire congregation. Actually, choosing music became a much more meaningful task, aided to the degree information was available in advance about the structure and content of the liturgy.

    But I do realize that the decision to opt for text-related music exclusively is determined somewhat by the local situation. At Hessel Park the prelude may last about three minutes, the offertory just one or two, and postludes are not even played.

    Imaginative Options for Prelude, Offertory, Postlude

    In our small congregation, after an extended choral or organ "Amen," conversations over coffee begin--people seldom leave the sanctuary. One reason for mixing the options a bit would be that instrumentalists could participate with greater flexibility if the literature were not restricted to text-related compositions. The two concerns listed above, however,--of relating music to liturgy and making sure the congregation can draw that relationship--those concerns mount in direct proportion to the amount of music not based on texts.

    I am convinced that the options must be weighted heavily in favor of text-related literature. The third area for options has to do with the relationships between musicians and others in the congregation. Those relationships were already mentioned in reference to the basis for choosing text-related music. The options are these: He can choose music independently and keep his choices to himself, or he can work together with the minister and then communicate those choices to the congregation. Unless the musician works with the minister beforehand, any integration with the rest of the service will be coincidental.

    And unless he informs the congregation of at least the title and hymn number upon which the composition is based, the question must be asked whether the prelude, offertory, or postlude really belong to the congregation as part of their corporate worship or not. This third option is the real liturgical one, for now the question is: If they are the congregation's, then how can musicians make them theirs? Of the four motifs listed for liturgy in the Liturgical Report, it is the pastoral which now must come to the fore.

    On that basis the congregation is informed, rather than kept in the dark. On that basis the body of songs that belong to them becomes the foundation for their participation.

    Penderecki: Credo

    On that basis instruments other than the organ and choral music may be chosen. And, also on that basis, the diversity which is found from one congregation to another, and even within a congregation, can find expression. There really is only one option here. The musician must work in close relationship both with those who plan the liturgy and with the entire congregation. Only then can prelude, offertory, and postlude become meaningful parts of a liturgical whole. It's first a matter of definition. If by definition a prelude, an offertory, and a postlude must be musical, then by definition what I'm about to describe can't be a prelude, an offertory, or a postlude.

    I don't know any liturgical or biblical principle which insists that those elements be musical, though our tradition has imposed the limitation. What I'd like to outline quickly for you, in a sort of pot pourri of options, are some non-musical alternatives. These certainly are not meant to be used weekly, but I'd be grateful for your reflection on the possibility that they might be used at all. Let's start with preludes. It will help if you think of the prelude as that liturgical element which prepares the congregation for worship, or if you prefer, which calls the congregation to worship.

    Here, at random, are some non-musical options:. A readers' chorus, like a musical chorus, needs careful rehearsal and good material. But it can be a wonderful means for opening worship. In the Christmas season, a readers' chorus telling the story of expectant Elizabeth welcoming Mary, mother-to-be of Jesus, can be very moving. As the opening to a worship focusing on Jesus as God's Word, we once began with a choral reading of alternating verses from Genesis 1 and John 1 with very satisfying results.

    Gary Ruiter, a friend from our congregation, once described the use of a lone voice to initiate a service he'd never forgotten. The congregation was talking loudly and there was no music. Suddenly, from the back of the room, came a strong voice crying as if in the wilderness, "Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight--" Mark 1: When he describes that moment, he still does it some years later with a sense of excitement.

    Prayer, can be a potent beginning. One way to focus such prayers is to hand out a variety of slips in bulletins as the congregation enters. The slips contain various specific prayer requests, written with enough detail to let us pray specifically for missionaries supported by the congregation, for healing or comfort, for programs or problems in the church.

    Individuals are asked to read the bulletin, and then begin silent prayer--continuing in prayer until all the worshippers conclude together with the Lord's Prayer--at which point the service is well under way.

    Postludes: Credo Sheet Music by Franz Joseph Haydn

    I wanted to demonstrate one option under each element. At first, I thought I would work with the more interesting suggestions such as a readers' chorus. But it may be hard enough just to conceive of non-musical preludes, postludes, and offertories and I shouldn't further complicate it. So let me demonstrate an extremely simple non-musical prelude which I believe could have been used effectively in our congregation last Sunday morning.

    Our pastor's sermon on that occasion was on the fourth Commandment; he explained the meaning of God's rest and our participation in it. If you would be so kind as to be my congregation for a moment, I'll demonstrate how he might have begun. In our church, by the way, we always say "Good morning. Some of us left dirty diapers on the steps, dirty dishes on the cupboard, and dirty faces that somehow evaded the washcloth. Some of us have already had prayer at home; others of us simply exchanged nasty comments. Some of us came from homes we can't afford, but bought anyway; we're angry at ourselves for that.

    And some of us came from homes we rent for too much money; we hate our landlords. Now that we're here, it doesn't matter any more what brought us here or what we left behind. We're here to worship. We're here to enter God's rest, to be put at peace with God and with each other, and even with ourselves. We'll talk about God's rest here this morning; let us pray that we will not only talk about it, but that we will also experience it.

    Then, there is the offertory. It'll help if we think of an offertory as that liturgical element which calls the congregation to compassion. If it is merely alms collecting, we might better follow the biblical model and place it either before or after the service. But in the service, I consider it a call to compassion, and here are some non-musical options for that:.

    As format, you can use any of the earlier suggestions--readers' chorus, lone voice, etc. In the past years, I've worked with a very talented artist who's taught me something of the power of visual communication. I've only worked with it once in liturgy, when we projected slides on a screen while the offering was collected. The pictures were all of people who were hungry, and outcast, and hopeless. There was neither narration nor music, and I think either would have decreased the impact of that moment. We were, I think, all called to compassion that morning. But you needn't make it difficult.

    If you'd be my congregation once again, I'll happily demonstrate a straight-forward, unabashed call to compassion which I believe is appropriate as an offertory by the way, this particular item can also be used to introduce the creed in a worship service:.

    GGB 177: Credo in unum Deum - Das Apostolische Glaubensbekenntnis

    Frank Steen, a pastor in Sioux Center, told me of a young rabbi who served in a rebuilt temple near Heidelberg. One day, as the man was leaving, he stopped near the rabbi who was folding a scroll. The ovens of Auschwitz have become the open seas which swallow up dying boat people. The horrors of Dachau have become the prisons of Argentina, the gutters of Calcutta, and the tenements of Harlem and Watts.

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    As for postludes , well A postlude should, I think, be the bridge which takes us from communal worship back into the context where we must minister obediently. As you leave at the close of this session, I'll demonstrate one type of postlude you might consider. For now, all we meant to do was stimulate you to consider the purpose of preludes, offertories, and postludes, and some possibly new ways to fulfill their purpose.

    Before we adjourn, both Emily and I would like to make an appeal to you--though the appeals are somewhat different. Perhaps the breadth of the non-musical options might have set the stage for an appeal I wish to make for a broader perspective on musical options as well.

    Postlude on 'Et resurrexit tertia die', Op.174 (Bottazzo, Luigi)

    I wish to expose and attack what I believe to be a false dichotomy which is rampant among us and does more harm than following or not following any of the options either one of us has suggested. I speak of an attitude which places music and liturgy and people into one of two basic camps which are unappreciative and mistrustful of each other. All kinds of labels have been attached to make the division stick: These distinctions do exist. But when one joins in building or supporting a wall of partition and places oneself firmly on one side of a partition, defensively maintaining his turf, guarding against contamination from the other camp, then one is operating with a dichotomy that is not only false, but masks the more fundamental distinctions we ought to be making.

    First, a very minor example. One musician plays "chorale partitas," which sounds impressive. Another musician, traditionally on the other side of the wall, plays hymn variations. What is the difference? Write a review Rate this item: Preview this item Preview this item. John W Schaum Publisher: No Linguistic Content Rating: Offertories Music More like this Similar Items.

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