Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Toccata and Fugue in D Minor, BWV 565 Johann Sebastian Bach
October 25, 2019, 7:00pm
at Calvary Church 27 Church Street, Stonington, CT

          The organ’s notes descend from the lofty heights; cascading down in torrents of inspiration upon our blessed heads in a chapel of wood and white and light robin’s egg blue. A scant seventy souls have gathered on this Friday evening to partake in the splendor of live, fine music. The building could hold twice, maybe thrice our number. Twenty dollars has bought such accomplished mastery, the hearing of such a divine offering by Mr. Bach himself—a song of worship that has served as background music in the Great Conversation that has stretched across time.

The organ sings gloriously from its balcony perch. Skillfully the organist’s hands play the inspiration of an ancient sage. Nimbly his fingers pounce upon the keys and cause the notes to vibrate forth into the night air, forth into our very being. The lower notes rumble and roll their way into my chest. Forward blast the notes rushing forth in space and time; recalling to my listening ears the reality of the ever-flowing stream of time rushing forward; faster and faster the sound courses through the sturdy wooden building and into our feeble fleshly frame.

Time passes and carves lines upon our face and scars upon our heart; mercilessly rumbling and rolling forward ceasing not its somber tones. Back and forth rock the hands of the organist; up and down race the notes, race my breaths and the beating of my heart. Up and down fly the organist’s hands; fly up and down as quickly as move the moments of my days. Dear God, give me time, an extended measure, a lengthy bar! Let me not depart this house wherein I am so temporarily confined without a completed song of praise to Your blessed Name!

          Arching, falling, rising —streams of praise pour forth from moving though silent lips and beating vibrant hearts, from strings and wood, from metal pipes and channeled air. The chapel is filling as new wine in a cup and brimming over with noble thoughts and purest notes to deliver an appropriate sonnet of thanksgiving and humble adoration to the God for whom these meticulously carved wooden arches point upward.

Instruments harmoniously weave their utterances of glory, silent voices of mind and heart join in the creation of this tapestry of praise. Oh, for a thousand tongues to sing! As Bach dedicated all his music Ad Dei Glorium —To the Glory of God— so too will I dedicate the music of my life to Him who is worthy of all.

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Because Thou Art a Wrestler

“This is a ground of consolation to the weak Christian, who disputes against the truth of his grace, for the inward conflicts and fightings he hath with his lusts, and is ready to say like Gideon, in regard of outward enemies, ‘If God be with me, why is all this befallen me?’ Why do I find such strugglings in me, provoking me to sin, pulling me back from that which is good?

"Why dost thou ask? The answer is soon given; because thou art a wrestler, not a conqueror. Thou mistakest the state of a Christian in this life.  When one is made a Christian, he is not presently called to triumph over his slain enemies, but carried into the field to meet and fight them.

"The state of grace is the commencing of a war against sin, not the ending of it; rather than thou shalt not have an enemy to wrestle with, God himself will come in a disguise into the field, and appear to be thine enemy. Thus when Jacob was alone, a man wrestled with hi until breaking of the day; and therefore set thy heart at rest if this be thy scruple.

"Thy soul may rather take comfort in this, that thou art a wrestler. This struggling within thee, if upon the right ground, and to the right end, doth evidence there are two nations within thee, two contrary natures, the one from earth, earthly, and the other from heaven, heavenly; yea, for thy further comfort, know that though thy corrupt nature be the elder, yet it shall serve the younger.”

William Gurnall, 17th century wrestler

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Four Important Rules For Children... and their parents

Ben and Emily, October 21, 2017

Matthew and Dyanna, October 24, 2015

1. Always say, "Please" and "Thank you".

2. Be on time.

3. Keep your promises.

4. Finish what you start.