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Archive for October, 2009

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by Douglas Wilson

We are eager to establish and grow up into a genuine musical literacy as a congregation, as a community. But we have to take care to understand this process rightly. We obviously have to teach our children, and we have a great deal to learn ourselves in this process. And in this area, we have set our hand to the plow. But we must take care—there are certain things that are not meant by musical literacy promoted by the church.

We can understand this by analogy—the Protestant emphasis in the history of the West has been a great boon. Because we are people of the Word, it has been the most natural thing in the world for us to be people of words. Because we want our children to have access to the Word of God, we make a special point of teaching them all how to read. But of course, once we have opened up the Scriptures for them, they go on to read (and write) many other things. The Scriptures are the center, not the periphery. Because we know the centrality of the Word, we can enjoy many other kinds of literature—from haiku to The Lord of the Rings—throughout the rest of our lives. But when the centrality of Scripture is lost, then uninspired letters cannot avoid disintegration. This is why public letters in our nation is the in middle of a 5 spiral crash.

It is the same principle with the music of the church. Man was created to worship God, and to praise him with song. Because this is what we were made for, we want to teach our children how to do it. This is the central motive. We want them to be able to do much more as worshiping Christians than we have been able to do. The songs we sing here are the most important music in our lives, and should be treated that way. This is the center of our music. But when we have been equipped to do what God calls us to do here, we discover that the musical abilities we have acquired remain with us through the rest of the week. We don’t just retain the songs—we retain the literacy.

Do a thought experiment. Imagine a generation from now a community that has virtually a one hundred percent musical literacy rate. Suppose that all the children under the age of ten today are able then to read a new hymn or psalm at sight. Do you honestly think that this will produce a monotonous sameness in all the music that is sung by our people throughout the week? On the contrary, we are perilously close to a monotonous sameness now. But when church music recovers its rightful place, it will do for all kinds of music what literacy does for every book in the library. It will open every lawful door.

HT: Sam Gage

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Today in History

Today in 1536, William Tyndale, “God’s Outlaw”, was martyred by strangulation and burning . He was an enormous impetus in the formation of future Bible translators and their translations.

Part of his legacy, includes the following (from Wikipedia):tyndale

“In translating the Bible, Tyndale introduced new words into the English language, and many were subsequently used in the King James Bible:

  • Jehovah (from a transliterated Hebrew construction in the Old Testament; composed from the Tetragrammaton YHWH.
  • Passover (as the name for the Jewish holiday, Pesach or Pesah),
  • Atonement (= at + onement), which goes beyond mere “reconciliation” to mean “to unite” or “to cover”, which springs from the Hebrew kippur, the Old Testament version of kippur being the covering of doorposts with blood, or “Day of Atonement”.
  • scapegoat (the goat that bears the sins and iniquities of the people in Leviticus, Chapter 16)

He also coined such familiar phrases as:

  • let there be light
  • the powers that be
  • my brother’s keeper
  • the salt of the earth
  • a law unto themselves
  • filthy lucre
  • it came to pass
  • gave up the ghost
  • the signs of the times
  • the spirit is willing
  • live and move and have our being
  • fight the good fight”

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