In several songs this week we will emphasizing the singing of the congregation by singing a cappella (with no instruments). The sound of nothing but the voice of the congregation is often quite glorious. But in this case I’ve planned this for a particular reason.
One of the most profound changes during the reformation was the effort to engage the congregation in worship. Rather than the priests and professionals performing worship for the congregation, now the people sang, confessed sins publicly, and professed their faith together.
Further, alongside the preaching of the Word, Psalm singing became a central part of worship. This week we will sing from two Psalms (Psalms 1, 100); plus, our first hymn is based on Psalm 46 and our final hymn is based on Psalm 48. In fact, if you take a look at the fine print of many of our hymns, you will note that they are often renditions of Psalms.
Ultimately, while the Reformation was certainly about theological fidelity to the Scriptures, it was equally about reforming worship. Its heart was to allow the people of God to worship God, not through earthly mediators, but only through the one true mediator, Jesus Christ. Involving the congregation in much of the worship service was a tangible outworking and application of the theological truths that rocked the church and the western world.