One of my pastors asked me to contribute a brief thought about how the music ministry--and choir in particular--contribute to the congregation's sense of belonging together. Here, somewhat expanded, is what I wrote:
Reaching back to David's organization of the music establishment of the temple, we see that biblical worship carries the responsibility of a dual role in the worship of God's people. Some time take a look at 1 Chronicles 25 and see how thoughtful and thorough David's plan was. (There is a lot to unpack here, and I just may do that over a short series on this chapter.) For now, note that the musicians were of the priestly tribe of Levi. They prophesied with instruments and singing, offering thanksgiving and praise.
Instrumental music provides opportunity for the gathered community to reflect on what has preceded it, to prepare for what follows, to pray, etc. In this regard I think of the Selah in the Psalms. Its meaning isn't entirely clear, but among the options proposed by scholars is that Selah is meant to indicate a time for reflection, possibly (likely?) with instruments playing. It might signal a repeat of what precedes the Selah. I like to think Selah is a time to stop and reflect; and this is what our instrumental musicians provide in our services. How does that contribute to our belonging together? Isn't it a "private" or individual moment? Without intentionality, yes, it is. But if we each use the instrumental moments to reflect, prepare, pray, etc., then those moments are times when we each engage meaningfully--we become participants in the offering of music.
With these brief thoughts I want to encourage church musicians--vocal and instrumental--and the congregation alike. What we do is compatible, symbiotic, and priestly. The ministry of music is a ministry of the Word, meant for the building up of the Body of Christ, in unity.