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Archive for July 28th, 2019

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Almighty God, beautiful in majesty and majestic in holiness, You have taught us in Holy Scripture to sing Your praises and have given to Your servant Johann Sebastian Bach grace to show forth Your glory in his music. Continue to grant this gift of inspiration to all Your servants who write and make music for Your people, that with joy we on earth may glimpse Your beauty and at length know the inexhaustible richness of Your  creation in Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives,and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

Bio:  Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) is acknowledged as one of the most famous and gifted composers in the Western world. Orphaned at age ten, Bach was mostly self-taught in music. His professional life as conductor, performer, composer, teacher, and organ consultant began at age nineteen in the town of Arnstadt and ended in Leipzig, where for the last twenty-seven years of his life he was responsible for all the music in the city’s four Lutheran churches. In addition to being a superb keyboard artist, the genius and bulk of Bach’s vocal and instrumental compositions remain overwhelming. A devout and devoted Lutheran, he is especially honored in Christendom for his lifelong insistence that his music was written primarily for the liturgical life of the Church to glorify God and edify His people. (from The Treasury of Daily Prayer, Concordia Publishing House)

Luther on Music: Next to the Word of God, music deserves the highest praise. She is a mistress and governess of those human emotions . . . which as masters govern men or more often overwhelm them. No greater commendation than this can be found—at least not by us.

Bach was dubbed the 5th evangelist. This has been demonstrated in our day by the fact that Bach’s music is very popular in highly secularized Japan. Japan’s Christian population is a minority but Bach’s Christian (and Lutheran!) music has been popular in the Land of the Rising Sun for a long time. The hope is that Japan will be one day the Land of Rising Son…as well as here in the United States.

In an interview in Crux, a Roman Catholic website, with Uwe Siemen-Netto, a Lutheran and a journalist and theologian, he describes the reasons for the impact of Bach on the Japanese: How Bach’s music evangelized Japan by Mary Rezac (June 4, 2016).

Here is a quote from the article in Crux. Mr. Siemen-Netto’s answer is also an answer to the banality of ‘Christian’ music today in the light of the Gospel in the music of Bach:

Why is it that beauty, such as in Bach’s music, opens the mind and heart to God?

Of the members of the hard sciences, mathematicians tend to be the ones more inclined to be believers, and that is because of the beauty of mathematics.

Which leads us to Bach, because there’s a strong mathematical element in Bach’s music, so the beauty of God is reflected in the universe, it’s reflected in your surroundings…and it’s reflected, of course, in the music by which faith is brought to man.

One of the reasons that I am so ardently opposed to contemporary liturgies, or non-liturgical worship, is because in contemporary liturgies, you have these nonsense, asinine noises being made, and you have the altar replaced by a drum set, and people screaming about and shouting the same garbage, just repeating the same thing. That is not beauty, and I think it is counterproductive theologically to do that – this is my personal prejudice.

I am fervently in favor of a full liturgy that has been brought to us through the ancient Church. It’s the vehicle by which God might make himself known. To me it’s incomprehensible how anyone could say that the creation of the universe was a random operation when it’s so beautifully organized and structured, that’s just crap, it makes you sound so ridiculous, but it is not that which saves the world, it is a vehicle. Christ’s work at the cross for us has and is saving the world.

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