By: Sheri Own
During my recent interview for the Director of Music and Worship, I was asked a very important question, “What is worship, and what does worship mean to you?” Worship has a two-fold meaning to me. It is communication with God through teaching and preaching the word. However, for me personally, it is the basic means of singing and praying. It is a form of expression – Psalm 95:1-2 says“Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song.”
Singing has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. Growing up in my parents’ house, an Italian household, we regularly listened to Italian opera, mostly Verdi’s Aida, Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass, and the Irish Tenors. My mother also loved listened to Chet Atkins, Flatt and Scruggs and George Beverly Shea. We sang all the time.
My appreciation for music grew and I realized I wanted to study music. I was fascinated by music as a form of expression, communicating thoughts and ideas as well as conveying emotions and feelings.
Growing up in church choirs, I also realized singing helps us pray more deeply. It puts us in a place to hear the voice of God. I regularly hear people tell me, “I can’t sing at all. I can’t carry a tune in a bucket.” The scriptures tell us in Psalm 100 “Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands. Serve the Lord with gladness: come before his presence with singing.”
In worship, congregational singing is essential. To me the congregation is the primary choir and while the anthems and special music are nice, they only help aid the larger choir, the congregation in their worship experience. We are very blessed at Chestnut Grove to have so many wonderful musical groups and faithful musicians to lead in the worship experience. In the coming months, we will be seeing many of these groups on Sunday morning. If you would like to join us in one of these groups, let me know. And don’t tell me you can’t sing, because I see you in our primary choir every Sunday morning, making a joyful noise to the Lord!