Tim O’Malley has a fascinating opinion piece over at Church Life today. He’s in favor of chant, not instead of hymnody, but instead of reading. I have to admit I find this argument intriguing:
Last Sunday, we went to the Melkite Liturgy on campus. The entire liturgy, as anyone knows who has attended Eastern liturgies, is sung. Despite our son’s lack of familiarity with the words on the page, he hummed along the entire time (sometimes even during the Eucharistic Prayer). With his slight speech delay, with his limited grasp of understanding of English, the chant allowed him to participate in the Eucharistic sacrifice in a way that he rarely experiences (Tim O’Malley, “Why Chant is Good for Children,” Church Life).
Is this a good idea? My kids are also much more engaged by music in the liturgy. I recall Hilda humming along to monastic chant at less than 6 months, and Thomas is always wondering why we only have trumpets at the Easter vigil, so I find it pretty compelling myself.
What are the practical implications? How important would consistency be? (If you have one or two lectors who can chant, should they do it?)