I mentioned Sunday how fortunate we are to have so much musical talent in this congregation, and I know there are others as well who I have not even had the chance to hear yet. Given the fact that covid is spread primarily through the air we breath, being able to sing during worship as a congregation is also a gift that I hope we do not take for granted, as we may come to a point where we have to stop for a while or mask while we sing!

And speaking of congregational singing, I want to address something that comes up in about every congregation, and that is music style preferences. Sometimes the “taking of sides” can get almost as mean as arch rivals in sports often do! But there is no one style of music that is better than another, and different styles are meaningful to different people. So let’s be careful to not come on too strong about our our own preferred style, and remind ourselves that songs we do not care for may be a favorite of someone else in the congregation. Part of being a congregation that truly welcomes all is to understand the importance of having a variety of music for different people with different preferences.

More important to me than the style are the words of a song – that we are not embedding in our hearts and minds poor theology that teaches something that is not true about God through the songs we sing. I have heard poor theology come from every type of music on the spectrum, and, as a pastor, it is something I try to help guard against. Just as the scripture passages are carefully chosen for each week as part of my sermon planning, the songs for the congregation to sing are chosen with care by your pastor and staff as well.

Another related issue that often comes up in many congregations is the sentiment that “we don’t want to sing any songs we don’t already know.” If you find yourself sometimes feeling this way, please stop and think about this: How do you know the songs you already know? No one comes out of the womb knowing a repertoire of Christian songs… or any other kind for that matter. So I encourage all of us to be “good sports,” willing to learn new things, just as we ask of children ALL the time!

When I was a teacher, I would frequently tell my students, “You never stop learning, no matter how old you get! I still learn new things all the time!!” May that be true for all of us, and may we continue to be open to learning new things, musically and otherwise. AND, Bonus: Brain research shows that learning new things also helps your brain stay healthy! So it’s good for us in more ways than one!

Shalom, Rev Pamela

On another note, if you are on Facebook, and would like to friend request me, please feel free to do so: search forĀ Pamela J Pettyjohn. (I share my first and last name with some others, believe it or not!) I have found FB to be a useful tool for small connections with folks during the week! But I do not usually make requests of those in congregations I serve, as some people may not want to be friends with their pastor on Facebook, and that’s okay too!