Describe Christian Attitudes Towards the Use of Music and Art in Worship

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Christians have always used both art and music in worship. The Bible says the first Christians sang psalms to God. Catacombs in Rome show us that early Christians decorated their churches and so must have used art in prayer. Today Christians have various attitudes towards art and music. There are many different types of Christian music. There is praise music, gospel music, Gregorian chant, meditative singing (e.g. Taize), scriptural songs and liturgical music. Many Christians feel that music is a gift to humanity – a source of joy – and that it should be used in prayer. It says in the Bible that the disciples sang the psalms together and also that we should ‘Sing a new song to the Lord.’ Christians use music to praise God in a joyful way. This reminds them that, whatever their trouble, God in great and worthy of praise. Christians use music as a way of praying together. St. Augustine said, ‘He who sings, prays twice.’ Christians sometimes use music to meditate on the Nature of God and of God’s love for them. For example, in the town of Taize, a small religious community developed a style of music that involved repeating simple phrases many times. The repetitive nature of songs means that it is easier for the Christian to meditate on the words. Christians believe that prayer and liturgical prayer should be as beautiful as possible and music helps with this. Different Christians may use different styles of music – some may use loud gospel choirs and modern instruments. Other churches such as the Catholic church traditionally use the organ and sing hymns but whatever style, the purposes of music are to praise God and to help the Christian reflect on the Nature of God. There are many different types of Christian art, such as statues, stained glass, needlework, painting etc. Art is important but it isn’t at the centre of Christian worship. Christian worship is to praise God and art can help Christians to worship better and understand better. If it doesn’t then it’s a...
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