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Homily delivered at the Fall Organ Recital, Nov 18

November 19, 2015 Leave a comment

For Christians, music is the handmaiden of the Gospel.  That is music can say something true about the Good News of the deliverance won by Jesus on the cross with an efficiency and effectiveness that beats what I’m doing now, speaking words at you.

So tonight what looks like a gathering around some pretty spectacular music played excellently is more than just an aesthetic exercise.  It’s a participation in the extension of the kingdom of God, God’s kingdom coming and His will being done here on earth even as it is in heaven.

That may sound like a pretty bold claim to you.  But consider again that music is a phenomenon that crosses all borders of nationality, race, and culture.  Are any of you German and I don’t mean by heritage or by marriage?  And yet even if you don’t get it, you recognize something in Bach and Brahms that clicks.  Which clicked for you more?  Back or the “Drop, Drop Slow Tears” by Perishetti?  And yet Perishetti was an American of the 20th century, one of your people.  This is what we do in the Church, hear and sing the songs of those who’ve come before us from many different times and different places.  So I would argue, music is far more powerful than language.  It transcends language.  Scientists are even beginning to think it’s processed differently than language.  Its felt deeply, not just heard.  It’s the world being made right again, harmonious even.

If you want to compare the music of the Church it to something to see what I’m talking about listen to a movie, listen to how the music sets the tone, like in Hitchcock’s Pyscho, or Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy.  Compare the music of the Church to the music of ISIS and you’ll instantly understand what I’m trying to talk about but cannot because an essay can’t do justice to what music can do with a single chord.

Music in the Church then is so much more than what it appears to be and why it is so important, so essential to who we are as God’s children.

So when you hear Alain’s litanies tonight, let them be what they are supposed to be, a heartfelt prayer to God.  A prayer too deep for words from a people teetering on the brink of the Lord’s return in glory but suffering the great tribulation of this fallen world, a world consumed by greed and hate and fear expressed in terror attacks or hostile takeovers or another foreclosure or another person not willing to recognize the holiness of the other before them, much less their humanity.

And remember Jesus entered into this world to suffer its inhumanity and injustice and to bring them to end, to cancel them out and to establish again the peace of God in His creation, a peace intended for you when you are surrounded by anything but peace, a peace meant to be shared with others.  Amen.

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