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Is lively singing a sign of spiritual life?

Having to write this monthly article is a great way of making me think through some of the issues I confront from time to time. I hope that the Music Exchange is useful to churches and musicians, but the dreaded monthly deadline certainly helps me to analyse and give focus to my own thinking.

The Music Exchange Richard Simpkin

These days there seem to be lots of requests for congregational singing to be lively. A call to liveliness would be good if it meant a call to singing full of life, but mostly the calls are to be more up beat and rocky. I can only think that these requests come because of a genuine desire to be cheered up when we sing, which is not a bad thing in itself. It’s good to be cheered up by our singing — a response of real Christian joy is exactly what we’re aiming for as musicians, but my argument in this article is that Christian joy is not necessarily achieved by lively or rocky music.