Where have I heard that before?
I know I often fall into the habit of always choosing a “Communion Meditation” song or “Song of Meditation,” or “Song After Communion,” or whatever name we give it. Lately, however, we have been doing something a little different at my parish. Instead of choosing a different song for that moment, we have been reprising one of the earlier songs we’ve sung that morning. It might be the gathering song, the offertory song, or maybe even the Psalm. Usually, the instrumentation is lighter, at least at the beginning, and it usually ends with the assembly singing unaccompanied. It’s often NOT the entire song–maybe just the refrain, or one verse and the refrain. (Perhaps we’ll sing a verse or a bridge that we didn’t sing earlier.)
I’ve found that this is particularly effective when you’ve introduced a new song that morning…one the assembly hasn’t quite learned, yet. This does two things: 1) It solidifies the melody in the assembly’s memory, and 2) It solidifies the text (lyric) as well. What we sang earlier still applies now! It’s a great way to bring back a theme, or a point in the gospel that was addressed in the homily. It really helps to tie things together.
Don’t be worried that it’s some sort of a ‘cop out’ or a way of avoiding having to choose another song. Instead, think of it as an effective means of engaging the assembly. Remember that our job…our role…as music ministers/leaders is to lead the assembly, not sing for them.
Sometimes leading means getting out of the way! Instead of having the whole band/group play the song as they did earlier, just use guitar and piano, or just one instrument along with a few voices. Let’s let the people hear themselves sing. It’s a wonderful, prayerful, moving sound.