About cultural expectations –
All of us have expectations about music, based on our experiences in our churches and our culture. To adjust our pre-conceived expectations to align with Biblical teaching on worship and music may involve some changes. Begin with a commitment to obey the Word in this area, and be open to the Helper’s leading. See our blog for various articles on the topic of singing and spiritual formation.
Our own experience has been very rich with these songs. As you fill your heart and mind with their content, you will experience many blessings. In short, as you fill your lives with the content of the Word, facilitated by the music, your experience will be as Dr. Willard describes, realizing “how lovely” God is.
Many people have "windows" of music in their day. Try filling those first with
spiritual content and praise as per Colossians 3:16. Do this on a regular basis and you will experience a new depth and power in your life.
Texts are taken word for word from the Biblical passage, though a phrase is sometimes repeated for emphasis, often at the end of a song. Translations used include English Standard Version, New International Version, and Living New Translation.
The Bible quotes various song texts which are lengthy, including the songs of Moses and Deborah, the Magnificat, various psalms, etc. While western popular song forms tend to use short quotations of Scripture, chant allows for the use of long texts, with the music playing a very secondary role. Some of our songs utilize chantlike passages, as well as other approaches for longer texts.
The music in these songs should heighten and interpret meaning. The music ought not detract, because the goal is not a great song nor artistic music - the aim is merely to express the text. Piano is used for accompaniment and the parts are easy to play. The voice parts are very easy to sing, to facilitate as many folks as possible. Most will find the music to be a significant aid to remembering the texts. In addition, since music has a way of playing back in our heads, the text plays back as well, filling one's mind with Scripture and song, perhaps the ultimate in spiritual formation.
Those who read music can take advantage of the scores - those who do not can learn from the mp3s - with the tools provided, most folks will be able to use this method.