Saturday, February 11, 2012

You brought nothing into this world and you can take nothing out... or can you?

A quote attributed to St. Augustine says “The only thing you can take with you to Heaven is music.”  Now, let me first point out that he is not referring to Bruno Mars or Adam Levine or Michael Buble or the Moody Blues here.  He is talking about the music of the faith, that sings the faith, that populates the Divine Service... These are not lost to you because they are as eternal as their subject and because of their object (God) they will endure to His eternal praise and glory.

The music of the faith and for the faith endures because it sings the eternal Word.  Would that we all took this to heart when choosing the music for the liturgy (both the hymns intrinsic to the Divine Service for Lutherans and the attendant music of the choir and organ or other instruments).  Instead, it is our great temptation to choose music on the basis of what we as clergy or musicians like or what the people want.  We justify poor music because we fail to see the eternal character of the Word(s) we sing.

BTW I wonder if the music Augustine has in mind has more in common with chant than it does the polyphonic music we might think of first...


Anonymous said...

Hopefully, Augustine recognized that contemporary Christian music does have a place in the worship service. From sitting in the pews over the past four weeks at Grace, I have noted that the most contemporary hymn used was written in 1924. I can't believe there has not been a worthwhile hymn or Christian music composed or written since 1924 that is worthy of Grace's precious music program

Grace Member said...

Last week 727 On Eagles Wings published in the 1990s... This week 690 Hope of the World published in the early 1970s... Two weeks ago 825 Rise, Shine You People published in the 1980s

I sit in the same pews as you at Grace on Sunday morning and I see modern hymns. If I had bulletins older than these, I probably could list more. Pastor Peters seems to have a good mix of hymns but all connected to the lessons for that day.