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From the Rector's Desk

churchVarious forms of music have existed in the Church from the beginning. The first and only record of communal song in the Gospels is the last meeting of the disciples before the Crucifixion. Outside the Gospels, there is a reference to St Paul encouraging the Ephesians and Colossians to use psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. There are historical records of ancient Christians gathering before sunrise and repeating “a hymn to Christ, as to God”. The human voice was seen as the purest form of musical expression. The use of instruments in early Christian music seems to have been frowned upon. In the late 4th or early 5th century St Jerome wrote that a Christian maiden ought not even to know what a lyre or flute is like, or to what use it is put. (I’m sure guitars were out of the question.) The introduction of church organ music is traditionally believed to date from the time of the papacy of Pope Vitalian in the 7th century.

Christian hymnody was defined by Thomas Aquinas as “the praise of God with song; a song is the exultation of the mind dwelling on eternal things, bursting forth in the voice.” Early Christian hymns were known as canticles and are often based on Bible passages other than the psalms. We still use them today. During the Reformation, Martin Luther produced a burst of hymn writing and congregational singing. Luther and his followers often used their hymns, or chorales, to teach tenets of the faith to worshipers. The earlier English writers tended to paraphrase biblical text, particularly Psalms. Later writers took even more freedom, some even including allegory and metaphor in their texts. Hymns came to be used to spread theology and to express one’s feelings in the relationship with God.

There is a rich history of music in the Anglican tradition. Music is woven in and through our liturgy and allows us a spiritual experience that is unique and profound. That is true here at Trinity as well. The music performed in our services by our members and others is of a high caliber. Much effort, skill and prayer goes into this important work. I attribute this to a great extent to our organist and Director of Choirs. We have been blessed in the music ministry of Lee Harris. She has labored long and extremely well in this church. As she leaves us for retirement, she takes with her our affection and gratitude for a job well done.