"...and it was the duty of the trumpeters and singers to make themselves heard in unison in praise and thanksgiving to the Lord...and when the song was raised, with trumpets and cymbals and other musical instruments, in praise to the Lord,
“For he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever,”
the house, the house of the Lord, was filled with a cloud, so that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud, for the glory of the Lord filled the house of God." (2 Chronicles 5:13-14)
Music is one of the main elements of our worship at City Church. It is a key component to a church’s worship service, and sets the tone for the attitude and position of the church on any given Sunday. We sing many songs that are hundreds of years old or are rooted in scripture because there is power in the words we say when we sing.
City Church’s music team is large, made up of several smaller teams that rotate each week. Come Sunday, that week's team arrives about two hours before worship begins, having already spent time preparing in the days prior to our worship service.
Our music teams are made up of people of all ages who play a variety of different instruments or contribute in different ways. Very few folks on our worship team have professional music experience (though a few do). Many are gifted with the ability and love to sing and play different instruments.
Colleen Labutta, a member of City Church, has a background in professional vocal training.
“I believe that music provides a unique way to express our emotions and connect with God,” she says. “My greatest hope is that, through the music we lead, people can experience God and get a glimpse of heavenly worship.”
Our church is located on a busy, beautiful historic street in the heart of Richmond. Sometimes I have wondered what passersby would think if they walked past when the doors were open. What would they hear? What would they think? We hope they would hear songs of praise to a powerful and loving God--even if it seemed strange to them.
Songs and music have been a powerful part of the human experience since the beginning of time. What if this part of our Sunday service is an expression of God’s intricate design in us? Children sing before they know songs, and before they know language. We sing at birthdays and weddings and funerals, in movies and at concerts, in the shower and around fires. It is a part of who God made us – we were made to sing, and to worship.
“There's no doubt in my mind that God created me to sing and is pleased when I use that in the context of worship,” says Colleen.
Michael Rawls, another City Church member, sings and plays guitar as a practical way to serve the church. When he plays guitar and sings, he says, “I feel as though I am doing part of what I was created to do. When the instruments work together, I feel as though that alone can be praise to the Lord; he is the creator of music after all.”
What if we have been honored with the ability to give praise to God, even if we had no sound systems or instruments or electricity? What if, like these servants of the temple described in the above passage from 2 Chronicles, we were positioned to do just this very thing? What if, when people walked by on Monument Avenue, they were drawn in to see only a cloud because the glory of God filled His church so? This is our hope and our prayer: that God and God alone would be glorified in our worship.
This post is the third in a series aimed at sharing stories across the broad life of our church, highlighting different ways people are serving–sometimes in the hidden pockets or forgotten corners. You can read previously published installments here.
(Written by Anne Taylor Robertson)