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The Singing Church

New Hymnal Supplement embraces more cultures, styles of praise, and song

From the January 2010 issue of The Christian Science Journal

EVERY CHRISTIAN SCIENCE church service includes the singing of hymns. The primary goal of hymn singing is spiritual, not musical. Mary Baker Eddy wrote: "Music is divine. Mind, not matter, makes music; ..." (Message to The Mother Church for 1900, p. 11). When we sing a hymn, we're not giving a musical performance, but offering a song to God. No one is excluded, and everyone is encouraged to participate. All may sing to the best of their ability without fear of criticism or rejection.

Hymn singing is shared by everyone present, and through creating a common sound, the congregation expresses divine harmony. "Harmony in man is as real and immortal as in music," Mrs. Eddy noted (Science and Health, p. 276). We leave selfishness behind by keeping tempo and pitch together, and by appreciating and accepting each person's contribution. Singing together brings people together. We "join hands" musically, and hymn singing becomes an expression of God's love.

Hymn singing is not a rehearsal, a performance, or a showcase for one person's voice. It is the congregation voicing spiritual truth in song. As an integral part of Church, or "the structure of Truth and Love" (Science and Health, p. 583), hymn singing serves as a purposeful and coordinated action that elevates and enlivens the service. It awakens thought, and helps focus attention on the spiritual ideas presented throughout the service. It expresses the thoughts, feelings, and understanding of the congregation as a whole. Therefore, hymn singing is a democratic activity, which builds unity in the congregation.

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