Wednesday, May 26, 2010

In Praise of Making Music

I subscribe to a journal compiled by Dr. Martin E. Marty called Context: Martine E. Marty on Religion and Culture. In the June volume he quotes Yale's Thomas Troeger: "The image of the organ as an instrument of healing awakened in me memories of when I have come to church fragmented and exhausted, sometimes from grief, sometimes from tragedies that overtook friends, sometimes from the brutal atrocities committed by warring nations and races.... Then the organ began to play; sometimes it was soft, slow piece on a flute stop, sometime sis was something big and brash, but whatever it was, it was a sound that had the character of transfiguring light in the darkness of my soul. It gathered the fragments of my being into a pattern of resilience, renewed energy, and hope."
That quote flooded me with memories of the Easter following a particularly soul-wrenching season in my life. Cindy Reents played Widor's "Toccatta and Fuge" as a postlude with particular energy and skill. I gave the benediction after the middle of 3 services and peeled back along the hallway and sneaked back behind the huge Holtkamp tracker organ. As Cindy played, I flattened myself against the wooden walls of the pipe organ, not only hearing the sounds, but feeling the vibrations of the great musical instrument and I wept with thanksgiving to God.
The church I serve now has no pipe organ, nor will it. It would neither fit the sanctuary or the worshiping community. I am privileged to work with a phenomenally gifted musician, Bob Gross, who almost weekly composes music for the variety of instrumentalist who grace our worship.
I thank God for surrounding me with musicians who have brought me healing through sound.


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