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Music Notes: The Prelude

Updated: Sep 20, 2023

The Prelude (sometimes called a ‘Voluntary’) has been widely-discussed over the years. What is its purpose: to entertain? to educate? to fill in the silence at the beginning of the service? Musicians and clergy have discussed this for a few centuries, at this point. Music can serve many functions, including entertainment and renewal of one’s inner spirit. However, in the context of divine worship it serves more meaningful purposes: offering our thanks and praise to God and focusing our thoughts on the eternal truths found in the scriptures. In a world in which the news is often bad and finding something encouraging can be challenging, it can be helpful as we enter God’s house for worship to envision a curtain or veil that separates us from the stresses of our chaotic, unjust world. This is not to say we are hiding from the world; we will all re-enter it after church to “Love and Serve the Lord”, as the liturgy says. Hopefully, upon entering the nave for worship, we can allow the Holy Spirit to de-stress our thoughts and prepare us to worship and learn. That is one of the intended purposes of the Prelude. You may have noticed in our worship bulletin that sometimes there are titles with (Hymn ###) listed beside it. This is to indicate that we will be singing that hymn in the worship service. It is offered in the hopes that you will turn to the hymn number(s) shown DURING THE PRELUDE. This allows you a sort of ‘practice run’ on that hymn or other music which may be new to you. We are a parish blessed with good leadership and people who are willing to learn. May we continue to grow in this spirit of grace and thanksgiving.



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