Using Poetry in Worship

As a highly compact form of speech capable of stimulating the imagination, poetry can be effectively used in almost any of the various dimensions or acts of public worship. This article catalogs a variety of ways that poetry can be used in worship and gives guidelines to worship planners for selecting poems and readers.

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Hymns as Poetry in Worship

The most common use of poetry in worship is the singing of poems as hymns. Despite their common use, however, hymn texts are rarely thought of in terms of their poetic qualities. Yet hymn writers are among the finest wordsmiths the church has known. Appreciating their art enriches the experience of all who sing.

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Writing Prayers for Worship

Writing prayers for worship calls for the creativity of a poet, the sensitivity of a pastor, the insight of a theologian, and the foundation of a living relationship with God. Weaving together these concerns, this article gives advice to the worshiper who is given the task of writing prayers for public worship. It suggests an approach that will be accessible for beginners and challenging for experienced worship leaders.

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A Case for Dance in Worship

The church’s uneasiness about including dance in worship stems, in part, from the dualism that equates the body with evil and the spirit with good. Worship demands physical and spiritual involvement that can transcend this dualism.

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A Brief History of Dance in Worship

Christian dance has persisted throughout the history of the church, despite many official decrees against it. Christian churches that have incorporated dance and other stylized gestures in worship have benefited from a profound way of expressing their praise and enacting the gospel message. Dance as worship is one manifestation of the Spirit’s ongoing activity in the church.

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Perspectives on Musical Leadership in the Church

Musical leadership is a great challenge, with musical and pastoral demands. It is also a great privilege, with opportunities to celebrate the gospel and work among God’s people. This article describes the practical life of the church musician in terms of these challenges and privileges.

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The History of Music in the Byzantine Tradition

Music for worship in the Byzantine Orthodox tradition is thought to be a direct descendent of the music used in the synagogues during the life of Jesus. The Orthodox have a very high, almost sacramental, view of music, believing that it is a “window to heaven.” Music is intrinsic to the liturgy of the church, for it is frequently used to express the liturgical text.

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