Ok, don’t assume that by the title of this entry that I am against repetition in a song service. Just hear me out. We’ve all been there….Either as the music leader or as a congregant….Either in our home church or visiting at another church….Either in the room or watching by television (or internet).
We have seen or been a part of a song service extended out while singing a particular phrase a dozen or more times. With each repetition, the musicality of the band and vocalist (praise team and/or choir) increases with heightened intensity. The dynamics of the sound level crescendo with every phrase. The congregation is swept into a greater outward expression of worship response as it sings a particular line again and again….
I don’t mean to boast. I can do it with the best of them. I was raised in this environment. I have learned the art of using repetition. I have done so with the glory of God in mind. It can be done. I have also done so sinfully. I have also done it with my own glory in mind. It also can be done.
What am I saying? Am I saying that the use of all repetition, especially singing the same phrase 5-20 times is always wrong? Absolutely not! If you get nothing out of this little “look-see” into the use of repetition, please get this: the careless use of repetition in song services can be very dangerous. Notice that I said the “careless” use. What do I mean by that?
The American Heritage dictionary gives the following definitions of “careless”:
Careless (kar’lis) adj. 1. Inattentive; negligent. 2. Marked by or resulting from a lack of thought. 3. Inconsiderate.
What I wish to do is to try to take a deeper look into this challenging, somewhat nebulous, dangerous, intangible subject. It may take one more entry. It may take a dozen. I may end up raising more questions that providing answers. But I welcome you to look into it with me. It is a look that is very much needed for my sake and yours.