Sunday, August 22
Our church, like a lot of churches, has shrunk. So we sold our big meetinghouse and started holding services in a rented storefront. Our worship is now simpler, more informal.
Our music director plays an electronic piano, not a multi-manual pipe organ. Today’s prelude was Fond D’Orgue by Guillaume-Gabriel Nivers, 1632-1714. It must have been composed for organ, but now it was played on a single keyboard, boiled down to a simple melody.
As usual, my mind was on other things—mainly the progress of my historical novel, which I am now revising. I was thinking about changes I would make in Chapter 22, when Nivers’s tune broke through.
The simple fall of pure tones stopped me cold. In a startling moment, the tune became an attribute of the Divine.
It is more my style to cast God as a supporting player—essential, yet secondary—in my own grand maneuvers.
What is God for, if not to support me?
Along came Nivers’s tune, a pure thing, existing in its own plane, its link to a long-dead Frenchman moot.
My work—no matter how worthy, no matter how inspired—is a hardscrabble of striving and becoming, a smudged object of trade.
But a tune, a color, a shape, a tree, a stream—is all being. Is God manifested.
God dwells at the heart of things, always in flux yet never changing. The facets of God’s transformation flash like signboards on country stations at night as we go barreling through on the fast express with rarely a glimmer of recognition.
But the God of tunes and colors and leaves and fishes is always accessible. Is present to us in that sabbath state when we hear music and forget our customary concerns.
Larry F. Sommers, Your New Favorite Writer
Author of Price of Passage—A Tale of Immigration and Liberation.
Price of Passage
Norwegian Farmers and Fugitive Slaves in Pre-Civil War Illinois
(History is not what you thought!)