Why Are Unison Readings Still Cool?

This is one if those staples of “traditional” worship that I almost never experienced in “contemporary” worship: the unison or responsive reading.

Sometimes it’s a prayer. Sometimes it’s a call to worship. It can also be a Scripture reading or an affirmation of faith.

It’s participatory, sure. Instead of a single leader up front talking, everybody talks. But it’s also scripted and can feel really lifeless, the printed, “Praise the Lord! ” intoned groggily as “PrstheLrd.”

It’s also the pinnacle of text-based worship, the coronation of words as queen of our liturgical court.

Somebody make the case for why responsive and unison readings are still the best expression of prayers and calls to worship for a contemporary worship environment.


2 thoughts on “Why Are Unison Readings Still Cool?

  1. It’s a very visual and audible sign that we are one. We say the same prayer, we read the same text. In this moment we are praying the same thing. In this moment we are calling upon God in the same way. It’s participatory in a non-threatening way. Are there other ways to do this? Yes. But sometimes in this very transient world, its nice to do something that has been done for a very long time. Stability and rootedness is cool. Walking and talking in the paths of others is cool, and remarkably comforting.

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