One of the true joys of attending the Festival of Homiletics is the singing. A congregation of ministers who sing loudly and confidently and fill the room with a sound that moves the deep connecting tissues of your body. The Festival also books stellar musicians to lead the worship, including last night where members of the Ebenezer Baptist Church Choir sang of the Spirit.
After a powerful worship experience the schedule included Hymns and Beers at a local saloon. I enjoyed watching a group of pastors raise their beers to the chorus of "How Great Thou Art."
In James K. A. Smith's Desiring the Kingdom, which I read on Monday, he wrote about the power of congregational singing:
First, singing is a full-bodied action that activates the whole person--or at least more of the whole person than is affected by merely sitting and passively listening, or even reading and reciting texts. Singing requires us to call on parts of the body that might otherwise be rather dormant--stomach muscles and vocal chords, lungs and tongues. And since singing seems to tap into our joints and muscles, song often pulls us into dance or raising of our hands in praise. Thus in song there is a performative affirmation of our embodiment, a marshaling of it for expression--whether beautiful songs of praise or mournful dirges of lament.