Friday, April 10, 2009

Easter prelude

Some organists love to begin Easter Sunday with a bang - a bombastic, praiseful piece of music. That's not me. Don't get me wrong, there will be plenty of joyous, loud music, with trumpet descant and all our voices raised in celebration.

But I believe that the celebration and joy we feel as disciples of Christ on Easter is best experienced in contrast to the sorrow of Good Friday, the confusion of His early followers following the crucifixion, and the quiet faith that sustatined the women who discovered the empty tomb.

My Easter prelude this year will be "Credo in unum Deum" by Samuel Scheidt, a 16th century German composer. It is a chorale setting of the Creed, the centerpiece of worship.

The liturgical mass parts (Kyrie, Gloria, Credo, Sanctus, Agnus) make it clear that the Creed is the heart of worship. Musicians throughout the ages have placed it in the center of their mass settings. This is, incidentally, one of my isues with the ELW and its division of the service into Gathering, Word, Meal, and Sending. It omits the explicit mention of the recitation of the tenets of our faith!

How difficult it must have been for the followers of Christ to have faith, in the aftermath of His death and because of their own persecution. We all face challenges to our faith, personally and as a body of Christians (see the recent cover of Newsweek, for just the latest example of the latter). We are an Easter people, though, with confidence in our faith and a bold statement of belief.

So sing your heart out this Sunday on some of our greatest hymns! But use the prelude to consider as well the quiet voice of faith within us that can boldly state "I believe in one God..." Then let the celebration begin!


  1. Rev. Robert FerroApril 11, 2009 at 3:17 PM

    I am currently reading Luke Timothy Johnson's book, "The Creed", and even before reading your post, I was thinking of doing a series on the Creed over the summer. It certainly is a wonderful treasure of the Church. I have had a problem with the Lutheran worship "experts" since the LBW because they made the Creed an optional part of worship.

  2. What a wonderful example of your devotion, faith, and testament of Christ through your post. I enjoyed, as I always do, reading your thoughts.

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