Classic Faith, Classic Worship
Praise the Lord! For it is good to sing praises to our God; For it is pleasant, and praise is beautiful. — Psalm 147:1
Praise the Lord! Sing to the Lord a new song, And His praise in the assembly of the saints. — Psalm 149:1
Praise the Lord! Praise God in His sanctuary;
Praise Him in His mighty firmament!
Praise Him for His mighty acts;
Praise Him according to His excellent greatness!
Praise Him with the sound of the trumpet;
Praise Him with the lute and harp!
Praise Him with the timbrel and dance;
Praise Him with stringed instruments and flutes!
Praise Him with loud cymbals;
Praise Him with clashing cymbals!
Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.
Praise the Lord! — Psalm 150
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. — Colossians 3:16
Music has been an integral part of Biblical worship for millennia and will be throughout eternity. At Oak Hill Presbyterian Church we view music reverently and in harmony with Scripture and the traditions of the historic Reformed Christian faith. Our music is a blend of psalms, traditional hymns and scripturally sound contemporary songs.
Our weekly services begin at 9:45 a.m. with a 15-minute, all-music Prelude of Praise, with emphasis on contemporary choruses, hymns and spiritual songs or music selected with the current season of the church calendar in mind.
During the Prelude to Praise segment, we also feature a "hymn of the month," usually an unfamiliar hymn for the congregation to learn for future use.
Instrumental accompaniment to our congregational singing includes piano (Carol Edwards and Roseanna Sampson) and a string ensemble of classically trained musicians, including resident professional violinist Brook Moes (director, Suzuki Violin School of Northern California; B.A., University of the Pacific Conservatory of Music; and M.A. University of Maryland School of Music), David Duggan (B.A. UOP Conservatory of Music), Ethan Moes, violinist; and Victoria Moes, violinist.
We find the following statement* by another Reformed church to be generally expressive of our philosophy regarding worship and music:
One of the great privileges of the people of God is that we are invited to sing praises to our great and glorious God. God has commanded that we sing praises to him because it is pleasing to Him and, in being pleasing to Him, it brings great pleasure as well to us. The elements of public worship do not appear because they please the worshipers but are included because they please God and yet in coming into His presence and fulfilling that which is pleasing to Him, we experience fullness of joy and pleasures forevermore. In determining what music is acceptable in worship, we must acknowledge that the words that we sing ought to be as biblical as the prayers that we pray and the words that we preach. As we study the psalms we generally note that they possess certain qualities: God-centeredness, dignity, biblical ideas, theme, order, resolution, etc. The hymns and songs we sing should follow that pattern. The Statement of Principle for Music in the Church, taken from the Christian Reformed Psalter Hymnal (Grand Rapids: CRC Publications, 1988, pp .11-15) gives some very useful guidelines in this regard. It states the following:
1. The music of the church should represent the full range of the revelation of God.
2. The service of music should contribute to the service of the word.
3. The poetry of the songs should be good poetry; it should not have to rely upon the music to carry it.
4. The music of the songs should be artistically defensible as good music; it should not have to rely upon the words to carry it.
5. The poetry of the songs should be true to the inspired Word. Such poetry at the same time must be free from the defects of artificiality and sentimentality. The poetry should be genuinely expressive of religious experience, but should be in harmony with the whole counsel of God.
6. The music should be suitable to the scriptural text to which it has been adapted.
7. Music of the church. . . [should not] suggest places and occasions other than the church and worship. . . lest a secular association with the music interfere with the worshiper's service.
8. The music of the church should be expressive of our Reformed tradition.
— *Excerpt from Position Paper Concerning Corporate Worship, Trinity RBC