I don’t just like music. I love music. I love everything about music – the beauty, the talent, the dedication, and above all its ability to communicate. Music is an incredibly powerful tool for teaching people. The way that music wraps our emotions around its lyrical finger and entrances the mind is almost supernatural. The song “Music of the Night” from Phantom of the Opera by Andrew Lloyd Weber nails the power of music perfectly although just a bit creepily. Yet, it is none the less true. Music is powerful.
Back in the days of the Reformation, Luther and his contemporaries recognized the power of music. And they put it to use to teach the faith. They began to write hymns that taught the faith. They put the parts of the catechism to music. They took Biblical truths and wrote them in meter and rhyme. And people learned. I see it play out today. When I ask kids to look something up in the Bible, I can hear them sing the song “These are the Books of the Bible.” And while it makes me smile, it is a great example of the power of music. Using music to teach the faith is probably one of our greatest traditions. One we lost for a bit in our rush to write exciting songs where we ended up with a bunch of music that really didn’t say much of anything. But over the past few years there have been some artists who remembered the power of music to teach and began to write good music once again. We played host to one of those groups of artists a few years ago when we hosted Koine. They are still a going concern. In fact, they recently released an album to teach the theology of the Divine Service.
They take us through the ebb and flow of the service so that we may see the Divine Service as God visiting with us. I’d encourage you to listen to the album and soak in the words. Hear how we come empty handed, confessing our sins and then God visits us and renews us in Word, in body and blood, and we reply in prayer and thanksgiving.