Musical Perspectives – Glee & Worship

Tuesday night Heather and I were watching Glee and they started singing Landslide.

I asked, “who recorded this?” thinking I knew the answer.  Heather responded, “Dixie Chicks.”  I thought to myself, “I’m pretty sure Smashing Pumpkins did it first.”  It turns out we were both right.  And we were both wrong.

Before I knew the song via Smashing Pumpkins

and before Heather knew it via the Dicke Chicks

Stevie Nicks wrote it and Fleetwood Mac recorded it.

Heather and I both knew the song from different artists in different genres.  Neither of us were aware of it’s origins.

As I reflected on this reality, I found myself thinking about the task of picking music for worship.  I’m responsible for selecting hymns for the two congregations I currently serve (not real high on my list of spiritual gifts).  Sometimes I pick what I think is an oldie and goodie (i.e., I remember singing it in traditional worship services before I began attending a contemporary service in the mid-90’s) that people will surely know and love.  Sometimes they don’t know it. At all.  Sometimes a song from the United Methodist Hymnal that was well loved in my student appointment, is a dud in one of the churches I now serve.  Even with a shared denominational heritage and a common songbook, different congregations have different “oldies but goodies” that they love to sing.

I am yet to draw many solid conclusions about what all of this means, but it has me thinking about the importance of music in worship (and in life) connecting to the experience(s) of people.

Any insights you have into this or lessons you take from it?

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7 Comments

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7 responses to “Musical Perspectives – Glee & Worship

  1. Nancy Kollhoff

    I’ve observed this at every church I’ve served, Jeff. In at least two instances, after hearing multiple comments about the chosen hymns, the pastor asked the parishioners to list their top 5-10 favorite hymns. One also asked for Christmas songs in a separate list.

    While music is very important to me, and I understand that some people aren’t comfortable trying to learn new tunes, we United Methodists are blessed to have a hymnal full of hymns overflowing with great theology. I wish the people who don’t like it when they don’t know a new tune would focus on the words. They might discover a new favorite hymn.

    • Thanks for commenting, Nancy. In my student appointment I solicited “favorite hymns” from the congregation and it was helpful. I also think that there are so many good options in The Faith We Sing that are good for congregations to experience. With my lack of musical background I think I would be most excited about an opportunity to do some team planning of worship with lay members of the congregation who know the songs and are willing to champion the idea of learning new to the rest of the congregation.

  2. DC

    I miss the great songs Heather used to select for RUMC. When I hear Michelle playing and singing them now, it brings back wonderful memories of when you were here.

    • Jeff Clinger

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing links. I appreciate the chance to read your reflections.

      • Thanks for posting the links. It is great to read other’s thoughts on these issues! It seems we are exploring some of the same worship issues! 🙂

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