Friday, October 23, 2009

Grace is a way of life

I drove by a church with that quote on its sign the other day: "Grace is a way of life." I think it sums up Reformation Sunday and Lutheranism pretty well. Of all the church holidays, this is the most artificial; it isn't based on Gospel events. Sometimes, though, I like to think of it as a fall celebration that echoes the themes of Easter. Plus, it's a favorite of mine as a musical highlight of the fall.

This Sunday's prelude will be my personal favorite arrangement of "Ein Feste Burg" (before I put the tune away for a few months, I promise). It's by David Johnson, a great modern composer and organist, and it features a pedal cadenza in the middle of a bombastic arrangement that I just love to play. It's a big piece for a prelude, but I think it will get the morning off to a great start and have us all humming and smiling as worship begins.

The meditative prelude, on the other hand, will be a lyrical piano piece titled "Berceuse" (French for lullaby) by the French composer Godard. I'll also be playing the piano during communion - a great piano arrangement of "The Church's One Foundation." For those of you who prefer modern sounds from the piano, I think you'll really enjoy both.

The choir will be joined by a guest trumpet player to enhance several parts of the service: a descant on the opening hymn, the Psalm antiphon, and of course the anthem, which this week will be "Upon the Rock of Faith." On Wednesday night, Lisa commented that Reformation is "all about the rock," which is a great way to summarize the music and the hymns this week. Remember to wear red and come ready to sing and celebrate!


  1. of course, I said that in order to persuade everyone to NOT recess during the sending hymn, but to be still and strong. It was a nice try.

  2. I wish I could be there to hear the pedal cadenza. I know I have heard it before, but it is always fun to re-experience those musical flourishes.