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July 27, 2005
Vol. V, No. 16


"To Fill with Wonder...Again"
For those of you who felt my last Rampage was all about politics, let me just say that politics are a luxury when you wear a backpack and find yourself running for the train in the morning, as I often do. Knowing that you could be shot dead on your way to work certainly puts things in a different light. But as you wish, for now I will leave the politics to the people who are outside right now having their bags searched or the ones who just the other day were handcuffed and led off their tour bus at gunpoint. This Rampage will absolutely be all about music.

Since I introduced the Rampage Flashback feature, I have been going back and cleaning up my old Rampages, trying to fix dead links, etc. I came upon this Guest Rampage that is as true now as it was back in 2001. Here are my words from four years ago followed by the article:

RAMPAGE FLASHBACK (It was four years ago today, about)
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"This week's Rampage is a Guest Rampage of sorts. Several years ago I was given an article entitled 'To fill with wonder,' and I still pull it out and read it once in a while when I need to remind myself that what I do as an organist is actually important. 'To fill with wonder' originally appeared in The Christian Science Journal in September 1997 and was written by Edwin Starner who was at the time, and still is, organist at The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts. I'd like to thank The Christian Science Publishing Society for granting me permission to reprint this article."

July 19, 2001

"To fill with wonder" by Edwin Starner
[Edwin Starner, who has played for services in many churches in the United States and is now organist at The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts, shares his thoughts on the prelude and the postlude as they relate to congregational worship. -- Ed.]

With few exceptions, as Christians enter their churches for worship and as they leave at the conclusion of the service, they will hear music being played from the organ or piano.

The practice of using musical instruments in the worship of God, however, predated the Christian era. It is recorded in the Bible that the purpose of the music was "to make one sound to be heard in praising and thanking the Lord."(1) This was music with a purpose.

Sadly, in much of society today, music is often thought of as merely a background for other activities, such as shopping, dining, or riding in an elevator, rather than as something to experience as an activity with a purpose of its own.

Although many regard the prelude and postlude to the worship service as background music for arriving and departing, both can have an individual message for each one who actively listens.

Although not a musical one, there was a prelude to one of the first Christian sermons preached -- the Sermon on the Mount. Matthew tells us, "And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him."(2)

The prelude can be our opportunity to go up into the mountain of elevated thought, and when we are set -- that is, when we have focused our attention on the things of Spirit -- we will be ready to hear the Word of God. Music, often referred to as "the universal language," can help us to do this individually and collectively, and we must protect this precious time from distraction or interference.

The postlude to the Sermon on the Mount is recorded by Matthew in this manner: "When Jesus had ended these sayings, the people were astonished at his doctrine."(3) One definition for astonish is "to fill with . . . wonder."

The postlude provides the opportunity for us to deal with our astonishment, or wonder, at God's goodness as just revealed to us through His word. We can take these precious moments to affirm what we have just heard, express our gratitude to God, and dedicate ourselves to higher demonstration. The postlude can be an individual and collective expression of joy and praise to God for all who participate through active listening, and nothing should be allowed to distract anyone from this sacred opportunity.

We can awake to both these opportunities to expand our worship experience, and we can cherish the sacredness of this hour together. And although worshipers are welcome to come and go as they please, each one of us can watch and sanctify that hour to protect it from worldly traffic.

As we lift up our worship services in these ways, the Christ becomes more visible and draws all men to Truth and Love.

(1) II Chron. 5:13.
(2) Matt. 5:1.
(3) Matt. 7:28.

By Edwin Starner. Copyright 1997 The Christian Science Publishing Society. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Originally published in September 1997 in The Christian Science Journal.
http://www.csjournal.com/

Click this link to read comments and offer your own:
http://www.BACHorgan.com/Feedback.asp

Updated Pages
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Composition Free Exchange:
Added is a postlude by BACHorgan.com community member Bill Kistler on "Ode to Joy."
http://www.BACHorgan.com/Comps/Comps.html

Community Links:
Here are some of the interesting websites recently submitted to the Community Links page by fellow BACHorgan.com community members:

"Look behind the curtain" -- This is a blog that describes what actually happens inside an organ factory. Pictures, explanations, and fun.
http://ulmorgelwerke.blogspot.com

"Haus Sonnenschein classical music salon in Japan" -- Intimate classical music at the foot of beautiful Mt. Fuji, Japan. Monthly concerts by world class musicians. Private organ, piano, violin, harpsichord lessons.
http://www.haussonnenschein.com/

"Moscow Organ" -- Features the Glatter-Gotz/Klais organ (2004) in the Moscow International Performing Arts Center and the documentary film being made about the building, installation and inauguration of this large concert pipe organ.
http://www.moscoworgan.com

"Roger Brown House Organ" -- Site describing a residence pipe organ in Melbourne Australia and covering some of the issues involved in such a project. The site also contains considerable photographic and other material concerning major churches and other places of interest in Melbourne.
http://rogerbrown.no-ip.org

"Jonathan Delbridge - Pianist and organist" -- Jonathan's interest in music began at the age of just four, when he started having piano lessons with his mother. In December 2001, Jonathan gained the LRSM diploma in piano performing and now has a busy career as a teacher of piano and organ and a freelance soloist.
http://www.jonathandelbridge.com

"Bach and Leipzig" -- Some pictures from Leipzig. The church where Bach played the organ.
http://www.ariejansen.nl/leipzig

Have a website you'd like to recommend to your fellow community members? Click this link:
http://www.bachorgan.com/CommunityLinks.asp
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Have a great week!

Dan Long
Editor, BACHorgan.com


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