OrthodoxChristianity.net
September 02, 2014, 01:10:49 AM *
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
News: Reminder: No political discussions in the public fora.  If you do not have access to the private Politics Forum, please send a PM to Fr. George.
 
   Home   Help Calendar Contact Treasury Tags Login Register  
Pages: 1   Go Down
  Print  
Author Topic: Worship Music Stumbling Block  (Read 2633 times) Average Rating: 0
0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.
faithcmbs9
Newbie
*
Offline Offline

Faith: Christian
Jurisdiction: Antiochian Orthodox (Former ELCA Lutheran)
Posts: 11


« on: November 22, 2009, 12:58:40 PM »

Hi everyone,

I have now left the ELCA and am looking for a new church home. Theologically, I think Orthodox is closest to the truth and would like to become an Orthodox Christian, but I am having trouble with its worship services. I have been attending a Greek Orthodox church for the past month or two because it is nearest to my home (there's a western rite church that I'd be interested in attending except that its 40 miles away), but although I have tried to learn the liturgy (which is part Greek/part English) and have tried to sing with it, I find that I really, really miss the Lutheran worship music and hymns. Worship music and hymns have been such a big part of my experience, that I find it hard to worship God without it. For me, singing hymns carries all my emotions; its the way I lift my heart and soul to God. And it truly saddens me to think that the Orthodox church would not allow me to play my flute as part of its worship services, because I have done this since I was a child and I see it as a talent God has given me to enrich the church. Although I think the Orthodox worship is nice, I leave it with an emptiness because of this musical void, and I'm not sure that I could overcome this to join the Orthodox community. Any advice on how I can resolve this?

In Christ,
Christine 
Logged

“For we walk by faith, not by sight.” -II Corinthians 5:7
ytterbiumanalyst
Professor Emeritus, CSA
Merarches
***********
Offline Offline

Faith: Christian
Jurisdiction: OCA Diocese of the Midwest
Posts: 8,790



« Reply #1 on: November 22, 2009, 06:50:09 PM »

Welcome to the forum, Christine!

My priest is a former Lutheran pastor, and we've managed where we are to bring in some Western-style music that is still liturgically correct. There is a growing number of American composers who are writing liturgical music that sounds like the hymns you and I as converts grew up with. Our wedding music in particular is described repeatedly by evangelicals as sounding close to the hymns to which they're accustomed. Of course, that's not to say that we can just do anything in liturgy; there are particular rules, and they have good reasons. The main reason why we banned instruments in the Church is that many people used their playing to glorify themselves rather than God. This is of course not to say that you would do any such thing; we just saw that it was a temptation to too many people, and the last thing we want is for the Liturgy to be a temptation.

I understand your concern; I too am a musician, and primarily an instrumentalist. But I have found that I actually enjoy singing the Liturgy more than I do playing my instruments. I never actually played for any church myself, though my brother did, but it doesn't really bother me anymore that there aren't any instruments in Liturgy. Our choir has improved so much over the five years I've been Orthodox, and these days there is such a full and rich sound that it seems like instruments would actually detract from its beauty.

So my advice is to go where your heart is leading you. I remember the time I was converting, when I felt just so overwhelmed by everything in the Church, especially where it was different from how I was raised. But I've since come to appreciate the Church's wisdom in everything, even though there's still so much I don't understand. Besides, it's certainly okay to use your instrument in other ways to glorify God. There's nothing stopping your church from say, having you perform at an outdoor wedding reception or organizing a band or symphony and performing outdoor concerts as a fundraiser. It's only the church services that ban instruments. So ask your priest about your feelings, and maybe he can help you to find a different outlet for your talents. Just don't go trying to change anything; find ways that you can fit into what the Church is doing, not the other way around. You'll be glad you did.
« Last Edit: November 22, 2009, 06:53:43 PM by ytterbiumanalyst » Logged

"It is remarkable that what we call the world...in what professes to be true...will allow in one man no blemishes, and in another no virtue."--Charles Dickens
scamandrius
Crusher of Secrets; House Lannister
Warned
Taxiarches
**********
Offline Offline

Faith: Greek Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: Greek by desire; Antiochian by necessity
Posts: 5,959



« Reply #2 on: November 22, 2009, 07:02:56 PM »

find a western rite Orthodox Church.  The Liturgy will be familiar for you there.  don't expect Lutheran hymns (though there are several in the St. Ambrose Hymnal) every Sunday though.
Logged

I seek the truth by which no man was ever harmed--Marcus Aurelius

Those who do not read  history are doomed to get their facts from Hollywood--Anonymous

What earthly joy remains untouched by grief?--St. John Damascene
Ortho_cat
Protokentarchos
*********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: AOCA-DWMA
Posts: 5,392



« Reply #3 on: November 22, 2009, 07:27:04 PM »

Hi everyone,

I have now left the ELCA and am looking for a new church home. Theologically, I think Orthodox is closest to the truth and would like to become an Orthodox Christian, but I am having trouble with its worship services. I have been attending a Greek Orthodox church for the past month or two because it is nearest to my home (there's a western rite church that I'd be interested in attending except that its 40 miles away), but although I have tried to learn the liturgy (which is part Greek/part English) and have tried to sing with it, I find that I really, really miss the Lutheran worship music and hymns. Worship music and hymns have been such a big part of my experience, that I find it hard to worship God without it. For me, singing hymns carries all my emotions; its the way I lift my heart and soul to God. And it truly saddens me to think that the Orthodox church would not allow me to play my flute as part of its worship services, because I have done this since I was a child and I see it as a talent God has given me to enrich the church. Although I think the Orthodox worship is nice, I leave it with an emptiness because of this musical void, and I'm not sure that I could overcome this to join the Orthodox community. Any advice on how I can resolve this?

In Christ,
Christine

 

Do you have a choir at the parish you've been attending?
« Last Edit: November 22, 2009, 07:27:41 PM by Ortho_cat » Logged
BrotherAidan
OC.net guru
*******
Offline Offline

Faith: Eastern Orthodox
Jurisdiction: OCA
Posts: 1,568

OC.net


« Reply #4 on: November 22, 2009, 09:44:33 PM »

I went from playing guitar in a contemporary worship band (and it wasn't some wimpy thing; we had some serious musicians and the band was really good) to Orthodoxy. I really didn't miss it that much because I kept playing, doing solo and duo gigs.

Keep playing your instrument. Join a community symphonic or concert band. Find some musicians to play folk or jazz (I don't know what kind of music you play on your flute) at coffee shops.  Form a band and play western hymns at senior citizens homes; play along with CD's of western hymns at home. And the suggestions yitterb mentioned are excellent as well.

But if Orthdoxy really IS right worship, then it really doesn't matter what was important to us in our former faith communities. We have to follow the truth of Orthodoxy and make new connections and associations.

Once you find Orthodoxy, you can never really go back. You will be so dis-satisfied if you try that even your favorite hymns won't sustain you.

If you have a western rite parish near you, check that out. But most of us do not and we have to learn to be Eastern Christians.

Buy several CD's of Christmas hymns and keep in you car or computer - you will really miss Christmas carols.
« Last Edit: November 22, 2009, 09:47:49 PM by BrotherAidan » Logged
Paisius
High Elder
******
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Multi-Jurisdictional
Posts: 816


Reframed


« Reply #5 on: November 23, 2009, 01:34:26 AM »

Hi everyone,

I have now left the ELCA and am looking for a new church home. Theologically, I think Orthodox is closest to the truth and would like to become an Orthodox Christian, but I am having trouble with its worship services. I have been attending a Greek Orthodox church for the past month or two because it is nearest to my home (there's a western rite church that I'd be interested in attending except that its 40 miles away), but although I have tried to learn the liturgy (which is part Greek/part English) and have tried to sing with it, I find that I really, really miss the Lutheran worship music and hymns. Worship music and hymns have been such a big part of my experience, that I find it hard to worship God without it. For me, singing hymns carries all my emotions; its the way I lift my heart and soul to God. And it truly saddens me to think that the Orthodox church would not allow me to play my flute as part of its worship services, because I have done this since I was a child and I see it as a talent God has given me to enrich the church. Although I think the Orthodox worship is nice, I leave it with an emptiness because of this musical void, and I'm not sure that I could overcome this to join the Orthodox community. Any advice on how I can resolve this?

In Christ,
Christine 


No offense to the Greek parish but because of the style of music it's often easier to sing and follow along in an OCA parish. Our parish bursts out in full four part harmony every Sunday. I'd never heard anything like it before I became Orthodox. If there is an OCA parish nearby maybe you could give it a try?


Yours in Christ
Joe
Logged

"Is it really true that political self-interest is nobler somehow than economic self-interest?" - Milton Friedman
Alveus Lacuna
Taxiarches
**********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: OCA
Posts: 6,861



« Reply #6 on: November 23, 2009, 03:37:15 AM »

Although I think the Orthodox worship is nice, I leave it with an emptiness because of this musical void, and I'm not sure that I could overcome this to join the Orthodox community.

Not that it's probably what you want to hear, but the service isn't necessarily supposed to make you feel better.  Sometimes it's kind of supposed to kick your buttocks.


Post cleaned up for language.  Please watch your mouth--er, in this case, fingers--on the public forum.  -PtA
« Last Edit: November 23, 2009, 05:20:11 AM by PeterTheAleut » Logged
Thomas
Moderator
Archon
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Eastern Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Antiochian
Posts: 2,790



« Reply #7 on: November 23, 2009, 10:35:29 AM »

Welcome to the Forum Christine,

As one who travels 50 miles to church and another 50 miles back every Sunday and Major feast days I can tell you that it is not difficult  to do so when you are seeking spiritual peace and true worship. I love both the western rite  that feels like my childhood and my current eastern rite church that is my adulthood. The main point is that now that you have left the ELCA is to get into an Orthodox Church that  enables you to worship the most Holy Trinity on a regular basis. Discuss your issues with the priest in your home town or the priest in the church 40 miles away for advice.

Thomas
Logged

Your brother in Christ ,
Thomas
katherineofdixie
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: OCA
Posts: 3,246



« Reply #8 on: November 23, 2009, 11:10:07 AM »

I'm a former Lutheran also, and I've sung in church choirs since I was 8 years old. Music is the way God reaches my heart most directly. I am also a refugee from a "praise band" in my former Lutheran church. So now you all know my guilty secret!!!!

Although I love Byzantine chant, the music in the Divine Liturgy in my OCA parish gave me goose bumps and captured my heart. I love singing the Divine Liturgy, and hymns like the Phos Hilarion. Perhaps you could find an OCA parish? Our choir director has even written some music in the style of the Sacred Harp.
Logged

"If but ten of us lead a holy life, we shall kindle a fire which shall light up the entire city."

 St. John Chrysostom
Heorhij
Merarches
***********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: GOA, for now, but my heart belongs to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church
Posts: 8,576



WWW
« Reply #9 on: November 23, 2009, 02:38:43 PM »

Welcome to the forum, Christine!

I think I understand you. I am a Slav, a Ukrainian, currently with a GOA parish (simply because it's the closest to where I live, "only" 50 miles), and I, too, feel a kind of "musical void." The Greek liturgical singing is extremely complicated for me to adjust to and to join. Actually, in our parish only ONE person REALLY sings the ancient Greek liturgical tunes; a few other people TRY to "chime in" more or less successfully, and the majority of the parishioners simply do not sing. It's just too difficult. Maybe if we met between the Divine Liturgies and practiced, it would become better; but we never do that - we all live in different places, scattered over our rural or semi-rural northeastern Mississippi inland.

I am not saying that I *dislike* the Greek singing. There is, for example, a piece of Greek liturgical music performed by Divna Ljubojevic that I like immensely (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QR3Y5hDncn4). I heard it so many times and I am sure I could repeat it without any help, both the tune and the words. (I have an excellent ear from music and a very good, sharp melodical memory, and also a talent for foreign languages - it is not difficult for me to memorize these Greek words!) But the tune of "Axion Estin" sung at our parish is very different and much, much more complicated (and not as beautiful, IMHO, as the one Divna sings in this video). It's just "the way it's always been," and no one seems to be willing to change anything...

Yet, I am very satisfied by our Divine Liturgies, overall. There is so much emotion in the chanting of our priest, and in these wonderful, breathtaking words of the Divine Liturgy of St. John the Golden Mouth. It compensates for the "musical void" that I experience.

I hope and pray that your situation somehow gets resolved.

George
Logged

Love never fails.
DaveInCSA
Jr. Member
**
Offline Offline

Faith: Anglican with Orthodox leanings
Jurisdiction: Dixie
Posts: 59


« Reply #10 on: November 23, 2009, 02:51:25 PM »

Welcome to the Forum!

I actually stumbled upon this yesterday. There's a link to find parishes on the page.

http://www.antiochian.org/western-rite

Oddly enough it's modern evangelical worship that's pushing me towards the Orthodox Church. Yesterday, the smoke machine was accidentally left on for to long. It was foggy in there when we started. Everyone else on the worship team thought it was funny. I just wanted to pack up my gear and leave.  Sad

So we do a song. Worship Leader introduces a guest player (I guess you do not need to belong to the church to be up on the platform) Do another fast two songs that go by real quick. Time for offering now. Then a slow song. Done. Message. Last song. I did nail all my guitar solos though.

 Undecided

 Embarrassed
« Last Edit: November 23, 2009, 02:55:02 PM by DaveInCSA » Logged
HandmaidenofGod
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Faith: Eastern Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA (Ecumenical Patriarch)
Posts: 3,397


O Holy St. Demetrius pray to God for us!


« Reply #11 on: November 23, 2009, 04:19:09 PM »

Hi everyone,

I have now left the ELCA and am looking for a new church home. Theologically, I think Orthodox is closest to the truth and would like to become an Orthodox Christian, but I am having trouble with its worship services. I have been attending a Greek Orthodox church for the past month or two because it is nearest to my home (there's a western rite church that I'd be interested in attending except that its 40 miles away), but although I have tried to learn the liturgy (which is part Greek/part English) and have tried to sing with it, I find that I really, really miss the Lutheran worship music and hymns. Worship music and hymns have been such a big part of my experience, that I find it hard to worship God without it. For me, singing hymns carries all my emotions; its the way I lift my heart and soul to God. And it truly saddens me to think that the Orthodox church would not allow me to play my flute as part of its worship services, because I have done this since I was a child and I see it as a talent God has given me to enrich the church. Although I think the Orthodox worship is nice, I leave it with an emptiness because of this musical void, and I'm not sure that I could overcome this to join the Orthodox community. Any advice on how I can resolve this?

In Christ,
Christine 

Welcome to the forum!

I can sort of understand what you are going through. Although I am "cradle" Orthodox, I was raised in the Ukrainian tradition, and in Nov of 2007 moved from NJ to Atlanta, GA. The closest and most vibrant parish to my apartment was a Greek parish, so I started attending Liturgy there. I have to tell you, it took some getting used to. The Ukrainians use four-part polyphonic chant, and the Greeks, well, their style is just different. Smiley

One thing that did help me learn the music was listening to recordings of the Boston Byzantine Choir. It's Byzantine music in English, and it makes it easy to learn. Here is their website:

http://www.stmaryorthodoxchurch.org/ministries/bostonbyzantine.php

I would definitely recommend picking up a CD of their's: I think it may help you out. Smiley
Logged

"For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope." Jer 29:11
BrotherAidan
OC.net guru
*******
Offline Offline

Faith: Eastern Orthodox
Jurisdiction: OCA
Posts: 1,568

OC.net


« Reply #12 on: November 24, 2009, 12:12:52 AM »

Welcome to the Forum!

I actually stumbled upon this yesterday. There's a link to find parishes on the page.

http://www.antiochian.org/western-rite

Oddly enough it's modern evangelical worship that's pushing me towards the Orthodox Church. Yesterday, the smoke machine was accidentally left on for to long. It was foggy in there when we started. Everyone else on the worship team thought it was funny. I just wanted to pack up my gear and leave.  Sad

So we do a song. Worship Leader introduces a guest player (I guess you do not need to belong to the church to be up on the platform) Do another fast two songs that go by real quick. Time for offering now. Then a slow song. Done. Message. Last song. I did nail all my guitar solos though.

 Undecided

 Embarrassed

By the time I left for Orthodoxy, I too was really just playing a gig on Sunday morning ("I did nail all my guitar solos though" - I like that quote, it made me chuckle; although I am so self-critical, I would think, well, I could have played that part differently or ended that solo better). I kept my eyes open and looked around during peoples' spontaneous praying (or stared at the ground if I was on stage); my mind wandered during the message unless engaged by a video clip or some computer generated image. We had a glut of guitar players so I was only scheduled 3 Sundays a month and rarely attended when I wasn't scheduled to play, taking the weekend "off."

But the pastor/worship leader kept telling me about this ancient-future stuff among the emergent church writers he was reading (thank God for that!). I found myself bored by the future stuff, but my heart leaped within me whenever he told me or I read about the ancient stuff (candles, written prayers, robes, liturgy). Then I stumbled upon Frederica Mathewes-Green. Then, through her wrtiting I began thinking, why try to find out more from people who are only playing around with the ancient practices of the Church. Why not go try to find the real thing? I bought her book, At the Corner of East and Now (appropriate title for where I was coming from; instead of ancient-futue, this was ancient, continuing and still going on today!). Within the month I attended my first Divine Liturgy at my current parish.
« Last Edit: November 24, 2009, 12:16:52 AM by BrotherAidan » Logged
believer74
Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 99


« Reply #13 on: November 25, 2009, 12:13:49 AM »

I go to a GO parish where there is an organ, and - God bless the organist - it is just loud and awful sounding.  It's like that old 'soap opera' kind of sound.. it is so distracting and un-spiritual, IMHO.
 I love it when someone just chants, but that's in the summer when the choir is 'off'... I never understood why this instrument was approved, and other, much more low-key ones were not..
Logged
Heorhij
Merarches
***********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: GOA, for now, but my heart belongs to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church
Posts: 8,576



WWW
« Reply #14 on: November 25, 2009, 01:34:12 PM »

Here are some pieces of Orthodox liturgical singing that I love and miss...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rEPDnVJX1yU

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7CSbIBkjq4g&feature=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CU9hNkUWLOw&feature=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vBzJSU5Ud8I&feature=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jN7f1A4Azzw&feature=related
Logged

Love never fails.
lkritchey
Newbie
*
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: OCA
Posts: 17


+ The Handmaiden of God, Laura +


WWW
« Reply #15 on: November 27, 2009, 02:24:48 AM »

Christine,

I understand your struggle.  For well over 10 years, I played the flute in my former Pentecostal's orchestra.  Every Sunday, I would go out with my orchestra, and use my flute to praise God.  I truly did (and still do) think that God's gift of musicianship is something I need to give back to him.  

So how did I get past this?  Well...one, it helped that I went to an OCA church.  There was still four part harmony, though it was a world of a difference from the praise bands and orchestral / choral pieces that we had at my previous church.  It probably also helped that the OCA / Russian melodys and hymns somehow touched the core of my being...and sounded almost...heavenly.  I always loved choral music...this just brought it up a notch.  Nonetheless, it was difficult for me to envision myself not using music to worship God.  I ended up joining the choir at my parish.  Eventually, I realized that I actually worship God more, singing the words, as opposed to playing.  Sometimes, no matter how much I tried not to, I ended up focusing on how good I was playing...or whether the orchestra was in tune...or if we all hit the rhythms or the correct pitch...and the list goes on.  I tried to have my music be the best for God...but sometimes it turned the focus away from God...and onto the music.  Orthodoxy somehow directs that all back towards God.

It doesn't ever completely fade away.  At least...not right away.  But after starting to attend the Orthodox Church...and going back periodically to my old church...I started to realize that I couldn't be anywhere else - even if I didn't like the worship (which incidentally, I learned to love).  Talk to the priest about it...and pray.  Ask God to show you what is right.  Eventually, it comes down to whether the theology is right...if the worship (in context and content) is right...and if you are where God wants you to be.  Even if the worship is not the style you want, it ends up being about God...and worshiping him no matter what style of music.  
I'll keep you in my prayers - that God will lead you in this.  

In XC,

Laura
« Last Edit: November 27, 2009, 02:25:34 AM by lkritchey » Logged

+May the Lord be gracious to us and make His face to shine upon us, that Thy way may be known upon earth, Thy saving power among all Nations + Psalm 67
pensateomnia
Bibliophylax
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Faith: Greek Orthodox Christian
Posts: 2,347


metron ariston


« Reply #16 on: November 30, 2009, 12:42:43 PM »

My wife converted from a Lutheran background -- Missouri, not ELCA, so not quite the same -- but she too struggled at first with the different worship style and missed some Lutheran things. After a year or so, that all subsided, and, now, she's so familiar with Byzantine-style worship that she doesn't like any other. Whenever we attend an OCA, MP or ROCOR parish, the music gives her a headache -- literally!  Cheesy

The point being, I think that one adjusts to whatever style of worship one throws oneself into whole-heartedly over a period of time. Depending on one's age and the frequency with which one worships in a particular manner, the time it takes to adjust may vary. Also, the more one develops positive associations, personal ties or spiritual experiences within a worship context, the faster the adjustment.
Logged

But for I am a man not textueel I wol noght telle of textes neuer a deel. (Chaucer, The Manciple's Tale, 1.131)
lkritchey
Newbie
*
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: OCA
Posts: 17


+ The Handmaiden of God, Laura +


WWW
« Reply #17 on: November 30, 2009, 06:41:26 PM »

Also, the more one develops positive associations, personal ties or spiritual experiences within a worship context, the faster the adjustment.

Very true...If I were to pinpoint a turning point with fully embracing the style of worship...it would probably be when I joined the choir, learned the music, and felt as if I were participating in it.  Honestly, once you are familiar enough with it that you can join in, whether it be congregational or in the choir, it seems to help a lot.
Logged

+May the Lord be gracious to us and make His face to shine upon us, that Thy way may be known upon earth, Thy saving power among all Nations + Psalm 67
Tags: music 
Pages: 1   Go Up
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.18 | SMF © 2013, Simple Machines Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!
Page created in 0.095 seconds with 45 queries.