Monday, December 01, 2014

Esolen on Real Liturgical Music

You'll get the idea even though these are only excerpt-grafs.

(Discussing a hymn (?) text beginning "Cold Are the People/Winter of Life,....")

...The implicit message of such music is that the worship of God is just like everything else: putting the moves on a girl at a drinking party, chilling out with college friends in the wee hours, selling a fashionable automobile, advertising a soap opera. We have enough and more than enough of that already. We need far more, and otherIt's as Aidan Nichols puts it, in Looking at the Liturgy: “Rites that do not allow a sense of distance deny to the people, paradoxically, a means of appropriating the act of worship, crippling them just at the point where they could be taking off Godward by a leap of religious imagination. For liturgical actors, though presented within a social frame, have to convey properties of what lies beyond that frame, a rumor of angels.”...

The horizontal worship.  It isn't just the music, or the flopsy-mopsy motions often used.  Sometimes it's the cutesy/folksy applause-line "announcements", too.  Enough to make one stand up and scream.

Later in the essay:

...We are apt to think merely functionally when it comes to divine worship. So long as we pray, hear the Scripture, and try not to let our minds wander during the homily, all is well. That is a serious mistake. We are creatures of flesh and blood, body and soul, reason and imagination. We are capable of far more than logic. We are capable of wonder. We cannot allow the television, or the movie screen, or, God forbid, the leaking sewer of popular novels to form our imaginations. We would then be to the world like faltering and half-hearted preachers with bad breath.

It has long been time to return wonder and reverence to worship.

By the waters of Babylon, we hung our harps and wept.......

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