Primitive Christianity Revived, Again
One thing I love in silent worship is that speech is only when led and not by rote.
One thing I miss in silent worship is that songs of praise and joy are never voiced.
In (and immediately after) several meetings I've attended, I felt led to sing, but didn't. I'm only an attender, I'm incredibly self-conscious about singing in public, nobody else ever does it (that I've heard), and it would have seemed awfully pretentious. And yet...
Has anyone else felt led to sing in meeting? Has anyone heard someone follow such a leading? Does God not call any of His people to worship Him in song?
I have ministered in song and heard amazing powerful sung ministry. when it comes, it is a revelation. also the meeting i attend has hymn sing before formal meeting. very nice.
Sometimes happened at Pendle Hill, with good results.
There has been many a time someone was moved to sign during Worship at Ramallah meeting in the Occupied West Bank. Although I am a genuinely poor singer, and often have problems singing some of the text, in the last year I have found myself actually enjoying the odd hymn or 4. I also occasionally attend a Mennonite church, where the sing is generally poor and a bit of a dirge (but a great community and I am off challenged and uplifted by the Pastoral team there).
However, there is another Mennonite Church in southern Germany I attend about 1x a year, and they have a great mix of hymns, ministry and silent expectant waiting (often because several other Quakers attend).
Some of us here in Europe do possess the Quaker Song Book, and at German Yearly Meeting there is often an early morning Worship with signing.
Howard, that also reassures a poor singer like me :-)
Singing in the Spirit in Early Quakerism
Kenneth L. Carroll
Quaker History, Volume 73, Number 1, Spring 1984, pp. 1-13 (Article)
[ This content has been declared free to read by the publisher during the COVID-19 pandemic. ]
Aaron, At a Meeting for Worship many years ago, my heart was weighed heavy with grief, so I ministered to all who may be similarly afflicted, and not surprisingly four or five f/Friends arose after and we comforted each other’s desolation.
One person could not find the words but stood, as she felt moved, and sang what sounded like a Taizé chant, i.e. a short mantric verse, sang softly, repeated several times, with a beautiful tune which enable the blessed words to stay with us.
This Friend had been an accomplished singer, though neurological disease has damaged her ability to sing as she would like, which was for a time distressing to her. She overcame this embarrassed self-consciousness as she faithfully responded to the prompting of the Spirit.
I am within a British Liberal Quaker context and I have noticed that outside of Meeting for Worship we love to sing. Reading Local Meeting, where I worship, we have a music group called ‘Church Street Chorale’.
Despite the British Quaker marginalization of belief and common aversion to things overtly Christian, I know many who happily sing their part in, for example, a Requiem, for public performance.
You sing in ministry if you feel led, as no polished performances are necessary, and if you are nervous, it is because it is important to you, and do not be afraid of quaking with anxiety.
See also Joshua L Baily, "Friends and Music," Bulletin of Friends Historical Association, Vol.23, #1, Spring, 1934, 22-30. The *Bulletin* was the predecessor of Quaker History and its articles are available for free download during the Pandemic at the Friends Historical Association site (reference above). Baily discusses intoned preaching at some length, including musical transcriptions of excerpts from some sermons.
List of Quaker History and Bulletin articles at https://muse.jhu.edu/journal/394