In addition to the hymns that we sing in a service, there is also other music known as service music. In our Sunday service, the service music consists of the Introit, the Prayer for Illumination, the Doxology sung when the Offering is being brought forward, and the Choral Amen at the end of the service. Unlike hymns, service music generally does not change from week to week, although it can vary throughout the year.
The Introit can be either a doxology (a brief song of praise), such as “O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name”, or a single verse of a hymn that relates to the theme of the day or the season of the year.
The Prayer for Illumination is a prayer asking God to speak to us through the scripture readings, theme time, and sermon. The Doxology is a brief song of praise that is sung as the offering is brought forward for dedication — which is appropriate, since the offering is an act motivated by our gratitude to God for his blessings. It’s traditional to use the words “Praise God from whom all blessings flow” (which, in our hymnbook, is set to two different tunes), but any doxology (expression of praise) would certainly be appropriate.
The Choral Amen at the end of the service is a response to the Commissioning and Blessing. “Amen” is a Hebrew word expressing agreement; so by singing the Choral Amen, the congregation indicates that it accepts the Commissioning and Blessing that the minister has just spoken.
Some congregations have more service music in their worship than we do, while others have less, or even none at all. It is purely a matter of preference and taste.