From the Director
First Sunday after the Epiphany
Baptism of Our Lord 2016
“Not here for your amusement.”
Often times church musicians are pulled in so many directions, have so many requests of their time that they may be tempted to mutter something like that under their breath.
In a certain sense that phrase is actually true. Contemporary life has so many ways of providing entertainment—television, movies, sports, games, the internet—that we’re almost overwhelmed by the possibilities for amusement. Church music is not one of those.
In the ancient world and Greek mythology every serious endeavor of art or science was thought to be guided by a Muse. That muse was the source of creativity, insight, ingenuity, invention, thought, inspiration, a source of ideas.
“Amusement” literally means “to be without a muse.” It’s downtime for the brain, a chance to check out for a while, to be mindless and unengaged, without serious thought and reflection.
The aim of the music of the Church is the opposite—to engage the faithful Christian in contemplation of the mystery of the Incarnation and to dwell deeply there. It is a means to reflect upon God’s plan of salvation and how that was made flesh in the person and work of Jesus Christ and how his Spirit continues to call, gather, and enlighten the whole Church on earth.
Likewise the Center for Church Music is not here for anyone’s amusement. It is here to assist you as you lead others, in rehearsal and in worship, closer to the Way, the Truth and the Life.
These truths on Jordan’s banks were shown by mighty word and wonder.
The Father’s voice from heav’n came down, which we do well to ponder:
“This man is my beloved Son, in whom my heart has pleasure.
Him you must hear, and him alone, and trust in fullest measure
the word that he has spoken.”
- Martin Luther (translation by Elizabeth Quitmeyer)
Lord, transfigure our perception with the purest light that shines,
and recast our life’s intentions to the shape of your designs,
till we seek no other glory than what lies past Calvary’s hill
and our living and our dying and our rising by your will.
- Thomas Troeger
O Holy Spirit, be our Muse!
Barry L. Bobb