Here at Liberti Collingswood, we are beginning in worship to sing different aspects of our prayers during the Lord’s Supper. We encourage our folks to practice these songs at home, both in preparation for Sunday mornings and also because these songs may be used at home in different settings. (A prayer of grace before dinner? After reading a passage of the bible? Before bed, or in the morning?) You’ll find the song files here (audio & text).
Why do sung prayers at communion?
1) It comports with our conception of “ancient-modern” liturgical worship. In a general way at Liberti, we seek to root our Sunday morning order of worship in liturgical forms that root us deeply in the Christian tradition. (In fact, our liturgy was first developed by the ancient church as a way of telling the Christian story in a manner that would be both compelling and intelligible to Christians and non-Christians.) You’ll see from the songwriting credits that many aspects of this great prayer of thanksgiving stretch far back into the history of the church, while at the same time the musical expressions (and some additional lyrics) are quite new. Another way in which this musical liturgy reaches back to ancient times is that in many older Christian (and Jewish) traditions, various parts of the worship service weren’t simply read but sung. We look forward to recapturing more of that ancient practice.
2) It engages both body and mind. Does singing relate to what goes on in your head, or in your body? Both, obviously. Fittingly, a sung communion prayer mirrors the tactile, body-oriented nature of the Lord’s Supper itself. As we bodily consume the bread and the wine, we spiritually receive Christ himself. Why not practice a communion liturgy that’s likewise body-oriented? In addition, a big part of why we use liturgy at all on Sunday mornings is that we pray these rhythms (i.e., being called to worship, confessing sin, hearing from God’s Word) will not only propel you into the week but actually shape how you approach each day. To that end, any sociologist, theologian, or parent of young children will tell you that things “stick” with you more if you sing them. We hope, then, that our new Lord’s Supper liturgy will aid in your communing with the living Lord throughout the week.
3) Finally, we feel that this liturgy is beautiful! Our God, the author of beauty, is praised when his children in worship reflect the same.