It was a a wonderful Sunday at St. Barnabas this morning! I hope that everyone, moms especially, were blessed and felt the power of the Holy Spirit!


Liturgical  churches like ours have a few distinctives that set us apart from other churches. First, our liturgy is designed to aim us toward Holy Communion. Second, we follow the Church Calendar, so we move in and out of different liturgical seasons throughout the year. Thirdly, we follow the lectionary, reading through the Bible on a 3 year cycle. Finally, we have prayers that have been handed down for hundreds of years, two thousand years in some cases! These prayers are said, chanted, and sometimes sung, and are integral to our worship life.


Those sung prayers are typically called "service music," though sometimes it is also called "mass settings" or "mass music." The service music includes prayers like the Kyrie, the Gloria, the Sanctus, and the Agnus Dei. Some congregations also sing the Lord's Prayer, and the Great Amen as well, while other Anglican churches chant these prayers, or even simply say them.


The Prayer Book offers flexibility, stating the following instructions before each: "The following or some other suitable anthem may be sung or said here." For example, at St. Barnabas we sing an ancient scriptural prayer called the "Song of Three Young Men"  in the place of the Gloria, which is meant to be any song of praise. Many Anglican churches actually change the song of praise from week to week, though that is not our practice.


There are dozens and dozens of different settings for the service music, and if you have visited multiple Anglican churches, you would undoubtedly recognize most of them. As a matter of fact, many, if not most,  Anglican churches will move in and out of the different service settings based on the Church Calendar, in the same way that the colors change for each season. For example, the Sanctus during Lent will be sung to one tune, perhaps a bit slower and more contemplative, but the Sanctus during the Easter Season will be sung to another that is more appropriate for that season.


Next week we are celebrating Pentecost and will move out of the Easter Season. With all of this in mind, I asked Dana to explore some of the service music options available so that we could mark this new season. When this liturgical season is over, we will use the settings we are currently using again. Part of being a new church is finding the music that works for us, and sometimes that takes some experimenting, and I appreciate your patience! I am excited about the Mass of the Rock setting that Dana has found for this season. (By the way, this is Mass of the "Rock" meaning,  "On Christ the Solid Rock I stand." It does NOT mean "rock n' roll!)


Each week Dana works diligently to pick music through a lot of prayer, discernment, and carefully matching the music choices with the lectionary reading. I couldn't be more grateful for her, and the whole music team! Sorting through hundreds of years worth of music to find just the right fit takes a lot of patience. (The Holy Spirit has been working with Christian songwriters, musicians, and composers for 2000 years, so Dana has a lot to choose from!)


Church family, I am grateful for each of you. Thanks for taking the time to read through this. I look forward to worshiping with you on Sunday. Keep Dana and all the musicians in your prayers this week. Until then, please know that you can reach out to me at anytime. Peace of Jesus my church family!

In Him,

Fr. Joey