How often have you heard choir music performed live during a wedding ceremony? For that matter, have you ever heard choir music at any wedding, whether it was live or pre-recorded?
My guess is if you have, you’ve heard it many times, because your faith tradition considers it acceptable, normal, and perhaps even expected. Such might be the case if you were married in the Church Of England, and certain churches stateside.
What a great way for a wedding to reflect the fact that the couple is now part of a larger faith community – entering into a sacred bond that is not simply a human idea, but a God-ordained relationship between a woman and a man , with the choir like a great cloud of witnesses to the marriage pledges and commitment, by their presence at the ceremony encouraging the couple in their future life and relationship.
No choir performed at my wedding, but if I ever renew my vows, I’d love to have a massive choir singing “Be Thou My Vision” or “All Creatures Of Our God And King.” This is in part because we (I) tend to have such independent and individualistic tendencies, contrary to the norms of scriptural teaching.
We are not an island, whether single or married, and we are not to be in isolation. We are part of a community of believers, and that should be the case before and after marriage, though it might look different for each case. Rabbit trail. Back to choirs.
Of course the sad truth is that choirs in general have fallen into disfavor and disuse in many churches of our day, leaving a wonderful body of liturgy and sacred choral numbers by the wayside. This is not to be critical or dismissive of contemporary forms in worship – but there is something distinctly biblical about a focus on “we” and “us” rather than the individual, especially when it comes to the worship of our God.
Worship teams and leaders do well to very carefully consider precisely what is gained and what is lost when the focus is on one or a few indivuduals during the music portion of a worship service, rather than on a choir, and indeed this is one of the great challenges of the evangelical church of the new millenium, at least in the United States – how do we best make the focus of our worship the Creator and not the creature. It is a shame that many barely take this issue into consideration. Another rabbit trail. Back to the beaten path.
As I descend from my lofty, pontificating perch, I find it somewhat ironic that we carry no choral music on our wedding music site! My hope is that at least a few of you reading this will have the privilege to have a choir involved in your wedding ceremony in some capacity.
A kissing cousin to choir wedding music is the singing of the great hymns of the faith; in that case, if the wedding hymns are congregational, the congregation becomes like a great choir (okay, not so great in some cases), especially if many are familiar with the hymns and comfortable singing out.
I personally have a great fondness for the great hymns of the faith, both ancient and contemporary, those that marry a great lyric with a timeless and memorable melody. But this is a rabbit trail that could take us deep into the forest, so we will leave that for another day.