For lunch on Sunday, I grabbed a quick bite of fast food, still humming church music to myself. One of the dangers of the choir anthem from last week was that the chorus could easily get stuck in your head (or at least in mine). While eating, I was reflecting on the morning's services and thinking about the variety of music. (For second service people who haven't heard our "rock sound" yet, you'll get to hear the same anthem this coming week.)
My culinary musings had me thinking about the need for variety in our lives. Recently I prepared a meal that included a creamy pumpkin and squash soup, and in a moment of ambition I had decided to start the whole thing by making my own vegetable stock, in an all day project that made the house smell great. But Sunday there I was eating a hastily prepared sub sandwich and chips. They were about as different as could be, but I liked them both, in their own way.
Sometimes we hear and sing classical music that is complex and intellectual, like the Buxtehude prelude. Other times, we get to enjoy ear candy like the choir anthem, simple and fun. We can enjoy them both on their own terms and for their own merits. One could even make a case that the anthem's text provides the piece with more direct religious content than the organ prelude with its subtle symbology.
Of course, we can't subsist on a diet of junk food, candy, and dessert. We even need a variety of healthful foods to stay healthy, just like Bach alone won't cut it for church music. I'm at work planning a smorgasbord for this Sunday; I hope you enjoy all the courses!