I have, sadly, sometimes been at worship that seemed more like a concert, where entertainment dominated over edification. It is a pleasant change to be at a concert that seemed more like worship.
School finished on Wednesday at 1:30; at 5:30 my wife and I were sitting in St Salvador's Chapel, St Andrews, for a graduation concert. Members of the public mingled with graduates and their families for this end of session celebration.
As I looked at the concert programme I realised that apart from two traditional Scottish airs that would close the concert the rest of the programme was sacred music. Not only sacred music, but Scriptural words set to music. I commented to my wife that this could almost be a Free Church service, with psalms and biblically based hymns !
“I was glad” – Psalm 122
“Rejoice in the Lord always” – Philippians 4:4-7
"I will give thanks unto the Lord" - Psalm 111
William Boyce, “Jubilate in C” – Psalm 100
Handel “Fague in B-flat”, instrumental
William Jackson, “Hear Me O God” - various psalms:
“I have taken the liberty of collecting sentiments scattered through various psalms, in and about the sixty ninth psalm. I have brought such thoughts together as might naturally occur to a mind oppressed with affliction, and at last deriving hope from a remembrance of former mercies:
“Hear me, O God, in the multitude of thy mercy; they that are my enemies are mighty! Hide not thy face from thy servant, o haste thee and hear me.
Deliver me out of the hand of the ungodly, out of the hand of the unrighteous and cruel man. Cast me not away in the time of my age, forsake me not when my strength faileth. Thou hast been my succour, O leave me not, forsake me not, O God of my salvation!
In thee, O Lord, I put my trust, have mercy upon me; so will I thank thee with my whole heart, and praise thy name for evermore!”
I suppose that there were those in the audience who were only there because of the occasion and who appreciated neither the words nor the music. Others may have been aesthetically moved by the beautiful music, but were untouched by the words. What a blessing to be there as a Christian, to revel in the music that is an exhibition of God’s common grace to composers of fine music and singers of talent, and to have the added benefit of appreciating the words that were set to this music. I uttered a silent prayer that some might have the double blessing from this fine musical performance.