Monday, December 5, 2011

Couldn't have said it better...

Peter J. Leithart, Pastor of Trinity Reformed Church in Moscow, Idaho, wrote a good piece on the soundscape of the Church now lost and closed with this wonderful paragraph:

The church created the soundscape for Western Christendom because she cultivated her own musical life in the liturgy that united human voices with the angelic choirs of heaven. I can hardly imagine a more worrisome sign of worldliness, or clearer evidence of the church’s identity crisis, than our eager renunciation of our own soundscape and our determination instead to reproduce the world’s.

I would only comment:

It is true that the encouragement of the unity of the faith and life of Christians was both helped and hastened by the commonality of the Church's song.  From the uncertain spread of Christianity to pagan lands to the fragile boundaries breached by monarch, reform, and increasing self-interest, we have been encouraged and uplifted by the common song of chant and hymn.  Now that appears to be threatened and the once important role of music to unite has become the force for division and diversity that cares not of commonality or communion.  Instead this movement worships at the altar of self-interest, utilitarian success, and feelings.  In this movement there is no preference but the personal and no value deeper than the surface determination of what is liked or disliked.  We friend the church's song as quickly as FaceBook and we drop them equally as quickly in our pursuit of what feels good now and what expresses the whim best -- for now.  No, Leithart has it right and the Church should hesitate to crow about the demise of our common song and soundscape.  Once lost, we have nothing with which to replace it... to be sure,

1 comment:

Terry Maher said...

It's a nice Romantic idea, but just isn't so.

The fact is, every single step along the way of constructing the now hallowed "soundscape" was hotly contested and each derided in its own time as an intrusion from the world into the sacred, and for force for controversy and division, from the first time some goofy monk -- OSB no doubt -- thought it would be cool to jam another line above the chant.