How Can I Keep from Singing? The Effect of COVID-19 on Congregational Participation in Worship
COVID-19 has had drastic, far-reaching consequences throughout society, and the Lutheran church is no exception. For three months, many Lutherans and other Christians in America were prohibited from worshiping in person by state lockdowns. When those three months were over, many Lutherans came back to a worship setting and style that was very different from the one they left. Today in WELS circles, the effects of COVID-19 are still being felt as pastors and church leaders struggle with how to provide God’s Word to people in a safe way during a global pandemic. One of the common ways this is done is by removing congregational singing and participation in worship. This presents the question, to what extent should we limit congregational singing and participation in worship in the COVID-19 pandemic? The goal of this paper will be to address this confusing issue and present evidence that, based on a historical perspective, a spiritual and psychological perspective, and a medical perspective, congregational singing and participation should not be limited at all because there are ways to minimize risk without removing a key component of worship.