My lovely friend Songbird posted this over at RevGals, and in my current weary state it's absolutely spot on, because nothing, NOTHING, restores and consoles like music. Ever.
When I was a very little girl growing up in Virginia, I never missed a Sunday going to Court Street Baptist Church. But there was something else that made Sundays special, and that was "Davey and Goliath." Every week the opening strains of the theme song would find me lying on the floor, chin on hands, looking up expectantly to watch the adventures of a clay boy and his big dog.
What I didn't realize was who wrote that music, the hymn "A Mighty Fortress is Our God."
It was the same Martin Luther who said:
"I have no use for cranks who despise music, because it is a gift of God. Music drives away the Devil and makes people gay; they forget thereby all wrath, unchastity, arrogance, and the like. Next after theology, I give to music the highest place and the greatest honor."
On this Friday before Reformation Sunday, let's talk about music. Share with us five pieces of music that draw you closer to the Divine, that elevate your mood or take you to your happy place. They might be sung or instrumental, ancient or modern, sacred or popular...whatever touches you.
I spent last night watching with a dear faithful soul, whose earthly pilgrimage is nearly done. As I prayed and thought and prayed some more, my internal soundtrack was Elgar's Dream of Gerontius and "Faire is the Heaven" by William Harris. Both open windows onto the divine in a way that made it easy to visualise her journey home.
Bach - always, always Bach...to restore my sense of meaning and purpose perhaps the Goldberg Variations, or the Largo from the Concerto for 2 Violins....
to express the overwhelming joy of being loved by the God who gives life,
Et Resurrexit from the B Minor Mass...
The first LP (oh how that dates me) I ever bought was Jacqueline du Pres playing the Haydn C Major Cello Concerto. I'm not sure whether I was more in love with the music or the musician at that point, but the work travelled with me to make every house, every student room, and still, every clergy study, a home. It's always part of the way I connect myself with a new environment.
Perfection in worship- Tallis "If ye love me" I've loved this since I first sang it with the Hasting Youth Choir when I was 14. It was the introit at my 1st Mass and never fails to make all things well in my world.
Songbird mentions hymns - again I'll turn to my 1st Mass as a guide to my "2non- negotiable, make-everything-better-at-a-stroke" list
"All my hope on God is founded"(tune by beloved Herbert Howells, whose "Like as the hart" would be in this list if I weren't trying to at least nod in the direction of the "Friday Five" game)
"Eternal Ruler of the Ceaseless Round" (thank you, God, for the music of Orlando Gibbons...How could I fail to mention "This is the record of John"...? Truly fantastic piece!)
"O thou who camest from above" (a "here I stand, I can do no other" expression of my longings in ministry)
"And can it be" - singing it makes it true....
"My chains fell off, my heart was free
I rose, went forth and followed thee.
No condemnation now I dread,
Jesus and all in Him is mine.."
Oh my dears, having had a lovely time hunting those around the internet, I'm now ready to go to bed with a deeply contented smile on my face.
I hope that connecting with your best beloved musical treasures has brought you joy too.