Many years ago, while traveling through Illinois, I was exposed to a Catholic Sunday mass that contained no music. This meant no hymns, or any instrumental accompaniment. Everything was spoken word, with a short chant here and there from the priest at various portions of the liturgy.
I love the quiet reverence of a service without music. Maybe it’s just because I’m getting older, but I have tired of congregational singing tremendously. I’ve been exposed to so many different forms of music in my church life, from contemporary, to brass band, to traditional organ. Although singing along with contemporary music, with guitar, drums, and bass, can be fun, I’ve come to realize that it’s not something I enjoy in church. If I want to sing along with people I’ll go to a concert or a party. I go to church to experience transcendence.
It’s not that I don’t enjoy music, especially when it’s performed well. I actually find the pipe organ to be an amazing sounding instrument, and played on it’s own, it can create some of the most beautiful sounds you’ve heard. Singing along with it? Not so enjoyable. To accommodate a wide range of voices it must be played slow and low, as a simple guide to the melody, instead of a voice of it’s own.
Therefore, I’m going to keep my eye out for local churches that have no-music masses. I’m not sure that it’s very popular, but it would be worth it to me. Not sure if any of my blog readers are from the Twin Cities (Minnesota), and know of such a place, but if you are, leave a comment and let me know.