November 09, 2021 Oak Harbor First United Methodist Church

Who is Your Conductor Today? by Sebastian

Who is Your Conductor Today? by Sebastian

As a conductor I’m often preparing and studying scores in my free time (although, I must confess that my brain is automatically ‘studying’ all day) and as I’ve dived deeper into analyzing, deconstructing, and understanding the compositional elements that made masterpieces so effective at communicating, I realize how powerful music is… and how lucky we are to be surrounded by it every day.

THE ORIGIN OF MUSIC

Thomas Fretwell, Christian author, tell us how the Bible has registry of music existing even before the creation of the world. Music comes from God; it was heard when the foundations of the earth were laid and “the morning stars sang together” (Job 38:7). The throne room of God is full of angelic choirs and the sounds of songs from the heavenly hosts (Revelation 14:2-3). Just as the angelic hosts sang when Christ was born, we too are exhorted to “sing for joy to the Lord” (Psalm 95:1) and “to make music from your heart to the Lord” (Ephesians 5:19). Music is a gift from God, one that is an overflow of His nature, and a beautiful way for us to praise Him. It testifies to the fact that God is Himself beautiful. Musical instruments and songs feature heavily throughout the pages of Scripture in conjunction with the worship of God.

This explains why Christianity has given rise to such an amazing array of musical creativity throughout history. Nowhere is this more clearly seen than with the classical composers of the Baroque period (1600-1750). This period gave rise to new styles such as the oratorio, the concerto, and the sonata. Composers such as Bach, Handel and Vivaldi gave us some of the most beautiful music the world has ever heard. People have often made the connection between classical music and the spiritual, which is not surprising given the ecclesiastical origins of such music. There is an old saying, reportedly from the outside of a German opera house:

"Bach gave us God’s Word; Mozart gave us God’s laughter; Beethoven gave us God’s fire. God gave us music that we might pray without words."

Whose spirit cannot be stirred by listening to J.S. Bach’s "Passion of St. Matthew," as he skillfully uses music to take the listener on an emotional journey through the Gospel story. There is a reason why Classic FM lists this as the number one piece that will change your life. Or what about the great "Hallelujah Chorus" of Handel’s "Messiah Oratorio," that once brought a king to his feet and still captivates audiences 250 years after his death. Or Mozart’s "Requiem," written on his deathbed, a composition with such intensity that it seems to transport the listener to the impending death of its author.

THE CHIEF MUSICIAN

Until just this past September 2019, the world record for the largest orchestra was 8,076 musicians, achieved by Christian Television System and Music Home Orchestra, at Gocheok Skydome, Seoul, South Korea, on December 16, 2017.10 No matter how large the orchestra, it still needs a conductor to direct the music. It is the conductor’s job to bring to life the composer’s vision. Without him, there is no harmony to the music.

Life can be a little like this. Often, we like to be our own conductors, yet this path often leads to chaos, not harmony. King David repeatedly addressed his Psalms to the chief musician. A prophetic picture of Jesus Christ who is the chief conductor, orchestrating the countless members of the body of Christ around the world into a beautiful harmony as He brings to life the Father's will on earth.

Who is your conductor today?