Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Why I Love Chanting

It is not just “talking about God” and it’s not just “talking to God.” It’s not talking at all. It is chant, and it is only done in worship. It’s an entire method of oral communication that is strictly reserved for the Divine. That is cool.
It teaches. It teaches what Pastor is doing–what I am doing too–is different from everday life, different than anything else under the Sun. It must be worship because it doesn’t happen anywhere else. It’s not just more talking when it’s not being said…even better, it cannot be just talking when it’s chanted.

It is a little disconcerting. It demands attention. It cannot be drowned out with thoughts about laundry, at least not very easily. If you try not to pay attention to the words, then it becomes for you other-worldly music, music you can let wash over you, but music you can’t easily just ignore.

But I find it’s easy to pay attention when the words are given a tone, a chant, a melody, a lift. It doesn’t sound like everything else anymore, and that grabs our fickle hearts and minds.

Of course whether you like chanting is a matter of preference. You may just as easily find it a little too Catholic for you. But why should Catholics have all the good music? Ultimately, though, it’s not a matter whether I like chanting or you like chanting or none of us like chanting the liturgy. It’s a matter of what the practice of the Church is, and a matter of what helps us. Talking may be praying, talking may be worship, but in our culture chanting always is.