Monday, December 19, 2016

Curious & Uplifiting

Perhaps many of us are pleased to hear religious Christmas music in all kinds of public areas and venues this time of year. Many are praising the Lord publicly, but perhaps we see it as a kind of empty praise with multitudes of earthly sinners crying out “Lord, Lord”, so to speak, deserving the response “Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ but not do what I command?” (Luke 6:46)

Hypocrisy notwithstanding, prayerful music accepted in public areas gives me hope for a future Christendom. My oldest son is now a freshman at a rather large public high school where he joined the choir; they had a concert a few months ago and the grand finally was the song "Praise His Holy Name". You should see the lyrics. Here is a sample...

“holy Jesus praise his name
oh hallejuah praise his holy name” (x4)
Read more:  Whispers - Praise His Holy Name Lyrics | MetroLyrics 

No one seemed offended and there was thunderous applause at the end. Remember this is a public school (nowhere near the Bible Belt)! I found it both curious and uplifting to see a secular musical ensemble shamelessly and loudly singing praises to Jesus, and all of it happening in a secular environment. To my knowledge, no one called the ACLU in protest.

Along the same vein, a few years ago that same son of mine was fortunate enough to have participated in the children’s choir for a presentation of the St. Nicholas Cantata written by Benjamin Britten (text by Eric Crozier).

Cantata means "sung" and is derived from the Italian word "cantare”; it’s a vocal composition with an instrumental accompaniment, typically in several movements, often involving a choir. This particular performance involved a full orchestra, adult choir, children’s choir and a tenor. This was not billed as a Christmas or Holiday concert and it was not sponsored by any church or other religious organization. It came from a state college/community music organization preforming in the theater of a private secular liberal arts college.

Here are some of the insightful music lyrics from the part of St. Nicholas; they read like biblical psalms. I don’t know if these are actual quotes from the saint, but I thought I’d share them nonetheless, since they seem as true today as they must have been in his time.

“Poor man! I found him solitary, racked
By doubt: born, bred, doomed to die
In everlasting fear of everlasting death:
The foolish toy of time, the darling of decay—
Hopeless, faithless, defying God.”

“O God! We are all weak sinful, foolish men.
We pray from fear and from necessity at death, in sickness or
private loss. Without the prick of fear our conscience sleeps,
forgetful of Thy Grace.
Help us, O God! to see more clearly.
Tame our stubborn hearts.
Teach us to ask for less and offer more in gratitude to Thee.
Pity our simplicity, for we are truly pitiable in Thy sight.”

If all this wasn’t remarkable enough for a secular event, the audience was encouraged to sing along with the following hymn…and they did so gladly!

“All people that on earth do dwell
Sing to the Lord with cheerful voice!
Him serve with fear
His praise forth tell,
come ye before Him and rejoice.

O enter then His gates with praise
Approach with joy His courts unto,
Praise, laud and bless His name always,
For it is seemly so to do.

For why? The Lord our God is good:
His mercy is for ever sure;
His truth at all times firmly stood,
And shall from age to age endure. Amen.”

Enjoy the holiday music while it lasts and wherever it comes from; try not to dwell on any hypocrisy you come across along the way...and Merry Christmas from “all of us” at Two Catholic Men and a Blog!
Wise bloggers still seek Him!