“How much time do you spend worshipping in your church service?” This question was posed recently to one of our members. He responded by saying, “About an hour and a half.” The other person was stunned. “Oh my gosh, how long is your service?” Our member responded by saying, “About an hour and a half.” It is common today, especially amongst Evangelicals, to refer to the singing portion of the church service as “worship.” As Anglicans, we view the entirety of our church service as worship. Prayer, Scripture reading, listening, receiving communion, and yes, music are all part of our service of worship to God.
One of the things I’ve always loved about the Anglican Church is that music is not a “part” of the service, but rather it is used throughout our worship. Not only do we have our hymns and songs of praise, we also have what is known as “service music.” While the hymns tend to change from week to week, the service music often stays the same. For example, the Gloria or Trisagion at the beginning of the service is typically the same piece of music every week, as is the Sanctus (Holy, holy, holy) and the Agnus Dei (Lamb of God) during the Eucharistic Prayer.
While many of us appreciate having familiar service music every week, it does have a tendency to become stale over time. To protect against this danger, many Anglican churches will change up their service music for different seasons. In that same spirit, we will be doing some different things musically this Lent, beginning on Sunday, March 10th. Since change that is unexpected and unexplained can be difficult, I would like to take this opportunity to explain these changes to you.
The Rev. Eric Zolner
Father Eric is a 3rd generation Anglican and the Rector of All Saints Anglican Church in Springfield, MO.