If you’ve been reading our little blog for any length of time, you probably already know that whether I’m praying or worshipping, I adore music. So it really isn’t surprising that part of the season that gives me the most joy is the music.
Until Thursday night. That’s when our choir director introduced us to Sunday’s anthem – From Heaven above to Earth I Come. The text is an oldie but a goodie from Martin Luther. The music is Bach.
As much as I love listening to Bach, we’d tried singing Bach once before. I don’t remember how many times we ran through it that long ago night, but it was such a train wreck that we never even performed it. It wasn’t the same song, but it was Bach. Translation: Complexity here I come!
We ran through page 1. Oh heaven help us. That was bad. Then we did it again, and again, and yet again. By about the fourth time through, we were somewhat amazing. That said, everyone sings the melody on page 1.
From there we broke into parts. It was slow going as each section learned one line at a time and then we’d sing that single line together. Line by line.
When we started to flag, Abe explained to us why he had chosen such a hum dinger. Simple music is fun to sing, but something that is this complicated gives us the opportunity to offer something up to God that requires focus and effort. It is an offering worthy of the God who gave us His All . . . His Son . . . His Grace.
As I drove home with Bach bouncing around in my head, I thought back on the Christmas music my mother and I had most enjoyed together – Handel’s Messiah. If you’ve ever had to sing the Hallelujah Chorus you know it is anything but simple, but it is such an amazing piece that it brought a King to his feet.
Sure, I love Bing Crosby and Nat King Cole, two more Mom introduced to me, but I can truly sink my teeth into Handel. Joy can be simple but it can also be marvelously complex.