Jun. 2, 2016
An Anointed Ministry, Part II
(con't from Part I)
Dr. Albert Schweitzer, among his many accomplishments as a philosopher, theologian, writer, music scholar, physician, and medical missionary to Africa, was personally trained at the pipe organ by Charles-Marie Widor in Paris and was one of the finest organists of his time.
Schweitzer made many recordings of the music of Bach and Franck, some of which have been remastered and are available today on CD.
His words about honor and privilege ring true to this very day.
Whether we organists are salaried professionals or volunteers, part of our job is not only to play music to the best of our ability, it is also to provide a ministry of healing to the people of God through the medium of music.
This is no small task.
An organist serves God's people by bringing the gifts of instrumental (and, at times vocal) music to address their joys and sorrows, and to lift their spirits to God in praise, lament, and thanksgiving.
We begin to realize what a great challenge and privilege this is when we recall how Jesus celebrated His last Passover meal with his friends.
The gospel according to Matthew tells us that, when Supper was ended, Jesus and His disciples sang a hymn before they made their way to the Mount of Olives.
What a startling statement of faith this was, that on His way to His betrayal and arrest, the Son of God and His friends sang a hymn of praise to God.
At least according to the account left to us by Matthew, it would not be too much of a stretch to say that Christ began His journey to the cross singing.
In a very real sense, the organist and choir members can be thought of as music therapists ministering to the people of God.
Dr. Schweitzer, as a younger man, must have sensed this as a member of the health professions and as a physical healer, and it undoubtedly contributed to his intense desire to make a serious study of the King of Instruments and its literature in France with Widor.