A Brief History Of Jubilation

Source: The Complete Library of Christian Worship, Robert E. Webber, General Editor

This section covers the phenomenon of jubilation, or wordless song and prayer. It was part of the worship practice of the ancient church, as attested in the writings of the church fathers. During the Middle Ages, it was a common popular expression of devotion to Jesus; and it formed an important component in the devotional expression of the great mystics of the Western church. Jubilation has many features in common with the "tongues" of the New Testament church, and its practice in Christian...

Jubilation In The Patristic Era

The time from the conversion of Constantine until the dawning of the second millennium was the formative period of the church, the era of the church fathers. It was a time of lively faith but also a time of controversy. During this period the expressive worship tradition of the church was shaped and formed and given the roots it needed to grow in richness in the following centuries.

Jubilation In The “age Of Faith”

The medieval world at its high point was far from a time of dry metaphysics, religious rigidity and conformity, or darkness and superstition. In actuality, it was a time of creative intellectual ferment, and of tender and warm faith. The age that produced the great cathedrals and inspired scholastic theology was also a time of spontaneous worship that produced many charismatic movements.

Mystics: Singers Of A New Song

Jubilation, the wordless prayer of ordinary worshipers in the "age of faith," occupied an even greater place in the prayer lives of mystics during that period and the centuries that followed. The writers speak of jubilation and spiritual inebriation in referring to the entire spectrum of spontaneous bodily and vocal prayer which might include glossolalia, inspired songs, dancing, and intense bodily movement.

Jubilation And Speaking In Tongues

Both the tongues or glossolalia of the New Testament and the jubilation of tradition were wordless sounds. Both were a response, an entering into the gospel in ways deeper than conceptual language would allow. There is every reason to assume that jubilation and tongues-ancient and modern-refer to the same phenomenon.

Jubilation And The Renewal Of Worship

An important aspect of contemporary worship renewal is the recovery of ancient church practice. The tradition of jubilation has much to contribute to the renewal of Christian worship, in both corporate liturgy and personal worship. An understanding of this tradition helps to place the worship of the modern charismatic renewal into its historical context.